How Exercise and Other Physical Activities Can Help Reduce Anxiety Disorders

By Guest Contributor Ryan Rivera

Physicians have always advocated exercise and other physical activities because they know that staying active can prevent diseases and improve a person’s physical condition. Exercise also plays a vital role in promoting sound mental health and reducing stress and anxiety. The performance of physical activities can also help increase concentration and alertness, reduce fatigue, and boost overall brain function. Staying active can be very beneficial especially when stress is depriving you of energy and your ability to focus.

The brain, along with its network of nerves, gets affected by stress and anxiety. When this happens, the entire body feels the effect in a bad way. In other words, if your mind feels good, so will your body. Exercise and sports activities stimulate the brain to produce “good hormones” called endorphins. These chemicals can reduce stress by acting as natural analgesics and promoting better sleep.

Scientific studies have revealed that performing aerobic exercise regularly can significantly raise and stabilize mood, lower levels of stress, boost self-esteem, and improve the quality of sleep. The feeling of anxiety slowly melting away can be experienced in just five minutes after starting the physical workout.

How a good physical workout can relieve anxiety disorders

While a tolerable amount of stress and nervousness are an accepted part of daily life, anxiety disorders are not. Severe panic and anxiousness are the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in the country and afflicts about 40 million adults. The beneficial effects of working out can go much further than relieving stress to lowering the incidence of anxiety and panic attacks.

Exercise can make coping with anxiety and feelings of depression a lot easier. Psychologists have discovered that a ten-minute walk can have the same effect as a half-hour workout. Whichever you prefer, exercise can quickly cast its magic effects immediately to raise the mood of most people. While the effects may be short-lived, it goes to show that brisk walking or other light physical activities can bring relief that can last for several hours, not unlike popping an analgesic tablet to fight pain.

Studies have also proven that people who exercise on a regular basis experience fewer nervous and panic attacks than people who are inactive. Exercise can be a great mental conditioner because of the way it aids the brain to adapt better to anxiety. In one particular study, scientists have discovered that individuals who performed regular energetic workouts are less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety over the next 5 years.

Making exercise a part of a healthy lifestyle

As some studies have shown, participating in physical activities can have medicinal effects to certain individuals in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms, with long-lasting effects as well. A short session of vigorous workout can provide relief for several hours, and exercising regularly can ultimately reduce the symptoms.

While most people gain a lot of benefits from exercising, some recent scientific findings revealed that working out may not bring the desired effects on anxiety disorders for some people. They may not provide a positive effect on mental health to a limited few.

Exercise as therapy can yield various results. It may bring positive results to many individuals; others may gain moderate short term effects while some won’t feel any improvement in their mood. Just the same, science has proven that the positive impact of exercise on one’s physical health is tremendous, and people would do very well to participate in physical activities as often as they can.

Ryan Rivera exercises every day as a way of fighting off his anxiety. He runs a website about anxiety which can be found at


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