Using Exercise to Combat Anxiety

Photo by Luemen Rutkowski on Unsplash

When anxiety takes hold, it can feel overwhelming and debilitating. 

It can be hard to function, breath, or sometimes even to think. The important thing is to get ourselves out of this state. 

But how do we do that when we feel buried under it?  

Exercise and fitness can offer a powerful antidote to combat anxiety’s grip. Studies have shown it can effectively alleviate anxiety and the effects of stress on the body. 

The first step is to be aware of it. You may scoff and say, “Of course I’m aware of it! It is the only thing I am thinking of and it is controlling my life.”  That is not quite what I mean. 

I mean being mindful of it.  Bring your awareness to how the sensation feels.  Acknowledge that your body feels this way to try and tell you something, and breathe through it. 

If you know what that thing is right now and there is something to do about it, then give yourself the gift of taking the first step towards that solution.  If gifting this next step to yourself isn’t motivation to take the step, then challenge yourself to do the one small thing to move towards it. 

But sometimes, we don’t know why we are anxious. It may be chemical/hormones or it may be a habit. 

Our brains are amazing problem solvers and in this instance will start to come up with answers for why we are so anxious.  The unfortunate thing about this is that it is just giving us more things to spiral into anxiety about. 

A great way to combat our minds’ anxiety tangents is to move our bodies. 

Engaging in regular exercise helps turn our brains away from answers to why and gets us (for lack of a better term) moving forward, Physically and mentally. It helps to restore the delicate hormonal balance that anxiety disrupts in our systems. 

Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, often referred to as the “feel-good” hormones.  These endorphins help combat stress, promote a sense of well-being, and reduce anxiety levels.  

Exercise reduces cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for our fight-or-flight responses.  By regulating cortisol levels, exercise helps restore hormonal harmony, enhancing mood, reducing anxiety symptoms, and fostering a sense of calm and balance. 

To combat anxiety effectively with exercise and fitness, it’s important to embrace a balanced and sustainable approach. Start by incorporating activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, dancing, or yoga. We should aim for consistency rather than intensity, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of our workouts. Remember to listen to your body and prioritize rest and recovery to prevent burnout.

When we recognize the important connection between exercise and hormones, and the impact it can have on our struggle with anxiety, we now understand how to utilize physical activity as a potent weapon against anxiety.  Embracing a regular exercise routine helps restore hormonal balance, alleviate anxiety symptoms, and unlock a renewed sense of motivation, paving the way for enhanced well-being and a more fulfilling life. Our LUVO App has great resources for this in live and recorded sessions. 

You have a great opportunity to get moving today. Use the fitness section of the app to set a goal and track your fitness progress. Or check out the aforementioned Live or Recorded sessions.   Even 10 minutes a day can help.  

“Physical fitness is the basis for all other forms of excellence.” – John F. Kennedy