Anxiety can be crippling. A never ending nightmare that is often misunderstood by those who do not suffer from it and is often trivialised by people, who think they are helping when they say, “just get over it.”
Studies show that that by the time they are twenty-four, anxiety is has affected 25% of young New Zealanders. For such a common problem, it has been a taboo subject for too long. Slowly, people are starting to talk about mental health issues and not be ashamed, because there are things out there that can help you and exercise is one of them.
Everyone worries, but when fretting starts to truly take over and stops you from living your life then it can become a problem. It can cause very real physical problems, such as panic attacks, headaches, shaking and sweating. Anxiety can make you feel awful, it can make you think that the whole world is out to get you, just around the corner there is something terrible that is waiting to happen. Even if you feel like you have tried everything to remove anxiety from your life, there is an answer.
It is estimated that 14.7% of New Zealanders have some sort of anxiety or mood problem, which is one of the highest country statistics in the world. Rather than taking hormones of medication to try and combat your anxiety, try a more natural approach that is guaranteed to make a difference. Fitness.
Exercising has numerous ways that will help improve your anxiety, in fact it can help remove it from your life entirely. Putting that pent up energy to good use, even if it is just a ten minute walk around the block at a reasonable pace, will help you to deal with the symptoms, as well as increasing your confidence levels and your overall health.
Different Ways that Exercising Helps Anxiety
- Releases endorphins which are proven to target the causes of anxiety
Endorphins are released when we exercise. They give our brain an overall feeling of happiness, and can also greatly reduce our pain receptors. Endorphins make us feel naturally euphoric and are a key factor when it comes to the battle against anxiety.
- Burns away excess energy that can build up and turn into mental tension
Humans were built for an active lifestyle and increasing sedentary jobs mean that we do not move around as much as we should. A diet filled with sugar and caffeine can mean we have a lot of unused energy that turns into anxiety. Eating healthily and fitting in exercise when you can, even if it is just a quick ten minute walk or a mini-Yoga session, will help burn those calories and rid your body of that fake, sugar-induced energy.
- Increases deep breathing
Controlling your breath and using deep breathing techniques has long been used as a control for anxiety problems. Deep breathing is one of the few automatic functions of the body that we can actually control, to help combat any feelings of anxiety. Combine that with exercise, an elevated heart rate and a surplus of oxygen starts flowing around your bloodstream and brain. Aerobic exercises like Yoga and Pilates utilize this deep breathing as a relaxation technique, so are perfect for anxiety sufferers.
- Boosts your confidence
When you suffer from anxiety, everything seems like a chore. Turning up at an unknown exercise class where you know no one and contorting your body into all sorts of shapes in front of those people, seems like a nightmare. It shouldn’t be. Most classes are incredibly welcoming of newcomers, and teachers have a “the more the merrier” approach to teaching. If going to a class alone seems like too much to start with, try recruiting a gym buddy or just making extra time in your day to get your body moving. Anything can make a difference.
- Takes your mind off any worries
Bear in mind that getting out of the house can be very refreshing. Take in the outdoors, walk around in nature or go to the gym and be around other people. Exercise can be a healthy distraction from whatever is worrying you. It doesn’t help to be sat around your house, worrying and stressing about things that are often out of your control.
- Exercise kills Cortisol
A known cause for chronic anxiety is Cortisol. This hormone imbalance is much more common than most people think. Regular physical activity has been proven to be good at controlling Cortisol levels in the brain. Just getting your body moving for twenty minutes every other day can have a serious impact on the levels and make your anxiety much easier to cope with.
- Helps you to meet new people
Often, chronic anxiety can cut people off. Social lives become none existent, because leaving the house is too difficult and friends wonder why you are avoiding them. Meeting new people, in exercise classes or at the gym, can increase our self-confidence. Social interaction is good for the brain.
- Tires muscles and helps you sleep
One of the main side effects of anxiety is insomnia. It’s a vicious circle; anxiety makes you stress, so you cannot sleep, but not being able to sleep makes you anxious. Exercising regularly makes you physically tired. This can help get to sleep and therefore remove the harmful effects of insomnia.
- Boost your self esteem
Exercise makes you feel good and it makes your body look good as well. With a healthy diet and regular exercises you will start to see a change in your body. When we see a transformation in our body, it makes us feel good and realise that all of the time down at the gym or making time for walks was worth it. It feel even better when other people start to notice, too.
- Work on physical health conditions
Physical fitness is good for your body. Regular exercise can lower blood pressure, improve diabetes and arthritis as well as helping with a whole host of mental problems like anxiety and depression. It can help you lose weight and mean that you become happy with your body.
As you can see, the advantages of exercise can benefit your body and your mind. Join the Curves community and get support from people that are losing weight, just like you. It is a well-known fact that people stick at diets and fitness for longer when they have people around them that are doing the same thing, so surround yourself with positive people online and in real life.