Anxiety and Stress are major issues in today’s world, however exercise can be your resort in such distress. With each passing day the pressure on people’s minds has been seeing a steady rise, ranging from work pressure to personal reasons that contribute to stress and worsening it. While exercising when you’re in a bad mental state might seem like too much work to your brain, doing it can actually help you cope up with the stress typhoon.
It provides a number of benefits for physical health such as regulating high blood pressure levels, diabetes, heart health and arthritis. It also can help with your mental health, research has shown that exercising can help improve mood and reduce mental stress.
How does exercising affect anxiety levels
Exercising can make you feel better by releasing feel good endorphins and helping you gain confidence. Many researchers have pointed to it as being a healthy coping mechanism, rather than the harmful ones like alcohol or isolation. Exercising improves your mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress. According to Harvard Medical School, getting your heart rate up changes the brain chemistry, thus increasing the availability of important neurochemicals like serotonin, GABA, BDNF and endocannabinoids.
It’s not always necessary to engage in high impact exercises, low impact exercises or even activities that require moving like gardening, washing your car or walking can be a lot helpful. Exercising for ten to fifteen minutes a day is enough, moving decreases the muscle tension, thus relaxing your body. Exercises like Yoga and tai chi promote physical relaxation which can calm the mind and help reduce the burden of stress from your mind.
Moving your body helps regulate hormones like Cortisol which is linked to stress, it also helps reduce the body’s stress response. It also contributes to improved sleep, regulating sleep patterns which are often disrupted by anxiousness
There are also cognitive benefits, such as improved cognitive function which include reducing rumination, a common aspect of anxiety. Exercising within a community or a group also results in social interaction, reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness. It also helps with distracting the mind and diverting your attention away from anxious thoughts, helping you focus on the present and promoting a sense of relaxation. Achieving one’s fitness goals can help boost confidence which can deal with the feelings of inadequacy that is often associated with anxiousness.
With such wide ranging benefits for improving mental health and dealing with anxious thoughts, exercising can be incorporated as a valuable part of an overall strategy to manage anxiety. Regular and consistent movements for the body can go a long run in making positive impacts to the life of a person. Some studies point out that people who are physically active are less prone to severe stress. Choosing a form of exercise you love and sticking to a routine can help you cope up with your stress levels, while also giving your body the much needed care it deserves.