Fitness tips for anxiety
When you have anxiety, it’s comforting to know there are many techniques and therapies that can help you ease and better manage your symptoms. And one of the simplest, most beneficial anxiety aids is exercise.
Exercise gets our body moving, blood pumping, endorphins rushing. It relieves stress, puts things in perspective, gets us outside, and helps us unwind. Above all, movement has been proven to positively impact our mood – and reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
But when you’re anxious, sometimes the hardest step is to start. So try these tips to fit fitness into your life:
1. Find something you love
You’re more likely to enjoy and stick with an activity you enjoy. Some people find yoga and pilates ticks all the boxes for anxiety, as it both calms the mind and benefits the body.
Others love to get into the water – swimming, body surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking, or paddle boarding are relaxing activities that also get you connected to the vast ocean, which can really help put things in perspective.
Try to tune into what types of exercise will work for you. People with social anxiety can find social sports to be too intimidating, preferring solo workouts like walking, cycling, or running. Find what’s fun for you.
2. Keep it simple
Taking up a new workout program can be overwhelming. But studies have shown that even a 10-minute walk is just as beneficial for anxiety as a 45-minute stroll.
So start out small – walk once or twice a week in a setting that calms you (a park or beach for instance). You can always build up your exercise regime over time.
3. Make it a regular routine
Impressively, regular exercise has been shown to be just as helpful as medication for reducing the symptoms of anxiety – with even longer lasting results. Care for your body, mind, and spirit by adopting a regular routine of activity. You could aim to get out for a walk for 20 minutes a day, do yoga once a week, swim every Saturday…it’s all about integrating activity into your life so it feels natural to do.
That being said, some people find that exercise has little or no affect on their anxiety. As with all treatments, what works for one person might not work for another.
So give it a go, find activities that you love and that help you relax and unwind, and be gentle on yourself as you explore exercise.
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