Struggling with anxiety? Get up and start moving!
Trouble concentrating, perturbating insomnia, panic attacks, constant concern, and worry; anxiety reaches out to affect all aspects of our life. It is the curse of modern times for which everyone is searching an outlet.
Managing anxiety disorders incorporate a wide range of means, from cognitive behavioral therapy to supplements, medications, and alternative medicines. Among these, the best non-medical solution is being physically active. As simple as it is, engaging in a consistent workout routine will benefit your body and mind. Since immobility and sedentary are significant inducing factors for anxiety, going outside, and practicing various movements is the easiest and most effective way to treat and preserve mental health.
Anxiety and depression are among the most common mental health disorders. Their prevalence all around the world is very high. Nearly every single person experiences an episode of anxiety disorder at some point in life. It is estimated that one out of five individuals over the age of 18 suffers from anxiety. Also, one out of three teenagers reported having chronic anxiety and depression conditions.
The world health organization estimated that 44% of the global population suffer from common mental disorders, mainly depression. The prevalence varies from one nation to another, and it differs according to age group and sex. Women are usually more prone to depressive conditions (more than 7% of American women reported to have chronic depression).
What causes anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental condition in which minor inconvenient life events trigger an overwhelming range of negative feelings, such as concern, worry, and irritability. If left untreated, it may give rise to panic attacks disorder. A panic attack is a spontaneous episode of extreme fear and worry that is not related to any precise cause or danger. It is of a sudden appearance, and it causes the individual to feel as if he or she is on the verge of death.
The exact mechanism behind anxiety is not entirely clear yet. However, there is strong evidence of a current connection between mental health conditions and lifestyle mediators. The extent to which a person is physically active, the kind of diet they follow, the quality of their sleep are all determinant features.
Additional triggering circumstances are stressful jobs, unhealthy relationships, poor financial status, previous emotional traumas, and addictive substance abuse.
Analysis of body and brain's chemistry during a depressive episode revealed alterations in the levels of certain hormones and neurotransmitters (molecular mediators interfering with neurons).
Adrenaline and cortisol play a significant role during a panic attack. The body releases these hormones in response to stressful and urging situations. Though necessary and crucial for the nervous system's functioning, the sustained release of these hormones causes agitation, irritability, and nervousness, which accounts for their adverse effects on mental health.
How does a workout routine relieve anxiety?
Several medical studies aimed to evaluate the effect of regular exercise on physical health. Results showed that individuals who were dedicated to regularly practicing 2-3 times a week not only had lower chances of developing chronic diseases but also presented a better sense of wellbeing and self-esteem.
Such observations suggested that physical exercise is helpful not only to the body but also to the mind; subsequent researches confirmed the theory, Revealing the positive impact of being physically active on both cognition and memory. People who exercised regularly had slower rates of age-related memory loss and cognitive decline.
a consistent workout routine can annihilate anxiety through:
- drifting the mind of negative thoughts and concerns: by breaking the cycle of sad emotions, the focus of ideas shifts towards more positive thinking.
- releasing happy-feeling endorphins: physical exercise promotes the release of opioids and cannabis-like brain transmitters. These chemicals enhance a positive mood and arouse pleasant sensations.
- lowering of stress hormones: these are the adrenaline and cortisol mentioned earlier. Physical activity reduces the levels of these hormones. By doing so, the body and mind can easily reach for soothing calm and rest.
- increasing confidence and self-esteem: achievements, no matter how small they are, boost feelings of wellbeing. Therefore, changes driven by weight loss and a healthy lifestyle have a positive impact on mental health.
The toll of anxiety is not limited only to the psychological side. It reaches out to disrupt the physical integrity of the body.
It increases the risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and digestive issues.
Additionally, anxiety causes insomnia, headaches, and muscle tension.
A consistent workout routine improves blood circulation, reduces the risk of diabetes and inflammatory disorders. Hence it opposes the side effects of anxiety.
What exercises routine for anxiety?
Research results showed that aerobic exercise is most useful to combat anxiety. All physical activities aiming to increase the heart rate are helpful; even a simple bike ride or a brisk walk can ease the tension and clear the mind.
Aerobic exercises do not only burn calories, but they also burn stress. Jogging and walking are primes examples, begin with adding a 20 minutes' walk into your daily schedule. As such, a simple activity will not only prevent anxiety attacks, but it will also build the needed self-discipline for a lifestyle change.
When deciding which exercise to include in the workout routine, studies point out all physical activities are associated with mental health improvements. What matters the most is to keep being active. Thus, the right exercise is the one you enjoy repeating the most.
Most people find these aerobic exercises most relieving for anxiety
-swimming: it is an enjoyable activity for most people. It eases the tension on muscles and enhances the mood for a clear mindset.
-brisk walking: taking a walk in the green is not only an easy cardio workout, but it is also a good distraction from a stressful environment.
-dancing: this is one easy workout you can do at home or with friends, dancing has always been known as a delight for the spirit.
Other options are biking, running, and basketball playing. The list is not restrained only to fitness and sports but also activities such as gardening, meditating, and even washing your car. Any physical activity that you enjoy and that gets you up and moving is your outlet of anxiety.