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The Benefits of Exercise for Anxiety

Updated: Mar 17

“Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States affecting more than 30% of Americans at some point in their lives (Tsatiris, 2019).”


The Covid-19 pandemic has only increased the percentage of American’s anxiety is affecting on a regular basis. Currently, there are so many unknowns in life that are out of our control, it is more important now than ever to come up with coping skills to help deal with the constant stress and anxiety of the pandemic.

Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in combating daily levels of anxiety. When a person exercises it is said that the body increases levels of serotonin and endorphins which boosts a person’s mood and relieves levels of anxiety. Along with the increased production and release of serotonin and endorphins it is said that exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system which secretes adrenaline. When a person deals with anxiety or panic attacks due to anxiety it is due to increased levels of adrenaline in the body so when a person is exercising and increasing their heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and begins sweating it is activating the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn will lower the bodies response to the sympathetic nervous system. The increase in activating the sympathetic nervous system, will condition and decrease the body’s response to stressors such as the unknowns associated with the pandemic, decreasing your levels of anxiety (Tsatiris, 2019).





Another plus side to exercise is there is more than one way to work out that will be beneficial to an anxiety disorder. Not everyone enjoys doing the same workout so it’s crucial for you to find a workout that you will enjoy doing for you to be successful in including it in your day to day activities. The great thing about the gym is there is an opportunity for you to try multiple styles of workouts such as weightlifting, high intensity interval training, and group fitness options. Working with a trainer is another great way to explore different fitness avenues as well. As a person who has dealt with their fair share of anxiety and panic attacks, I know how crucial it has been to incorporate a fitness routine into my daily life. Exercising allows me to focus on the present, shut off my mind to outside stressors, focus on the movement in the moment, focus on my breathing, and helps me to release the negative energy that my body is feeling due to daily anxiety.


When a person engages in an exercise routine, they allow themselves to become a priority, they set goals for themselves, they set time aside for themselves, and they in time will achieve those goals. A person with daily levels of anxiety tend to put anxiety first and themselves second. So, in other words they are more worried about what that little voice of doubt is saying in their head and less focused on what can benefit them in the long run. When you stop listening to the doubt in yourself due to anxiety you start realizing what you are capable of achieving, you increase your self-worth, you become more confident in yourself and your appearance, you become happier because you feel better and you show yourself what you are capable of going through to achieve your goals.


It is more important than ever to focus on methods of self-care. Being sure to include an exercise routine in your daily life is going to allow you to decrease some of the constant anxiety we are battling. So, it’s time to make it a priority to find a workout that works best for you! Put yourself first and your anxiety last! The personal trainers and staff here at The Gym @ Milford are dedicated to helping you achieve your fitness goals in anyway that we can so don’t ever hesitate to ask us a question, set up an orientation, or ask questions about our classes. We want you to help you achieve your fitness goals and overall health goals in any way that we can.


Author:

Erinn Ring,

Personal Trainer @ The GYM Milford

References:

Tsatiris, D., The Benefits of Exercise for Anxiety, December, 2019.

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