This is how physical exercise helps you fight anxiety

We don’t get tired of repeating it, to do physical exercise and being physically active helps us to have a better quality of life, to age more actively, to help our defense system and prevent infections, it helps us to concentrate and improve our memory and improves our capacity for self-control.

This is not the only thing that sport and physical exercise can do for us: those of us who suffer or have ever suffered from anxiety know how difficult it is to control the symptoms of this disease. At those times, the last thing we usually want to do is exercise or move, however, it is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. And yes, physical exercise can help us fight anxiety.

How Physical Exercise Helps Us Manage Anxiety

Helps us relax


Doing physical exercise helps you to release endorphins and our body relaxes more easily after exercise. By strengthening and working the muscles, we also gain more control over it, so that it is easier for us recognize when we are tense and when we are relaxed and therefore to be able to remedy at the moment in which we feel an abnormal tension.

Helps you sleep better

It may seem like a minor benefit, but it is not. Do exercise helps us sleep better and to rest well. Some people, as we have in Vitónica, go to the gym with the sole purpose of sleeping better.

And sleeping better has a direct impact on our anxiety levels. Being rested we will have more facilities to stay focused, we will find ourselves more rested and relieved.

Shift the focus of attention


When we are experiencing a peak of anxiety our focus is constantly on the discomfort we feel. It is very difficult to get out of there or focus on something else which, at the end of the day, is completely exhausting. However, exercising is so demanding for our body and our attention that almost forces us to disconnect from our discomfort in order to focus on the task we are carrying out.

This moment of disconnection and concentrating on something other than our anxiety is very necessary since will help us to rest, and to learn to change the focus, so that little by little we can do it with other tasks.

We release irisine

Irisin is a hormone that appears to be related to anxiety levels. Higher irisin release could mean lower levels of anxiety. And how can we release this hormone? Well, very simple, doing physical exercise. Specifically, I carry out aerobic exercises.

Improve our self-confidence


Sometimes, people who suffer from anxiety have problems of insecurity and self-confidence and self-efficacy, causing them to constantly question themselves and all their choices. This constant doubt is caused by our anxiety, but also makes this worse. It’s a bit of a whiting that bites its tail.

Nevertheless, doing physical exercise improves our self-confidence and our feeling of self-efficacy as little by little we are improving, achieving goals and feeling better in our body.

Improves the respiratory system

People who suffer from anxiety know it: we breathe badly. In general we tend to do very short, shallow breaths bringing air only to the upper part of the lungs.

This type of shallow and agitated breathing is a characteristic feature that ends up causing another vicious cycle: the more anxiety we feel, the more agitated we breathe; the more aggressively we breathe, the more anxiety we feel since this type of breathing is usually a response to fear, danger and stress.

Playing sports forces you to learn to breathe better, also improving our lung capacity and the control we have over our own breathing. Thanks to this, we will learn to breathe properly in our day to day, which will promote relaxation.

This article was originally published by Iria Reguera in September 2018 and has been revised for republication.

Images | Unsplash
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