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The Power of Exercise for Stress and Anxiety Relief

Woman Raises Hand Triumphantly With 4 Other Exercisers In The Backgound After Workout at Alloy Haynes Bridge, Alpharetta

We all know someone who’s been dealing with anxiety.

Anxiety has become an unwelcome companion for many, whether it’s our best friend, family member, or ourselves.

According to Harvard Medical School, almost 31.1% of U.S. adults have experienced any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.

In today’s fast-paced world, one thing is sure: the constant pressure to meet deadlines, navigate relationships, and handle life’s uncertainties can take a toll on our mental well-being.

While there isn’t a magical solution to help us get rid of anxiety and allow us to live a stress-free life, there’s a natural anxiety relief available to everyone: working out.

So let’s explore how to deal with stress and anxiety in the healthiest way possible through exercise.

Understanding anxiety

To live a happy life with anxiety, we must understand it first.

So what exactly is anxiety, and what are the signs of anxiety?

Everything starts with our brain, that amazing little thing that makes us the most powerful species on the planet.

Our brain has one task: to keep us alive. And to do so, it became highly successful at one thing: paying attention to any signs of danger.

But here comes the tricky part: it doesn’t change as fast as the environment. Especially our limbic system with its amygdala, which is responsible for many necessary survival actions, as well as the flight or fight response.

So anxiety is like the brain’s overprotective security guard, always looking for potential threats.

There are different types of anxiety, including stress-related anxiety, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, OCD, PTSD, phobias, and high-functioning anxiety, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges.

It comes with different physical and behavioral symptoms, like increased heart rate, hyperventilation, feeling nervous, fearing the worst, avoiding social gatherings, crowds, closed spaces, fear of having thoughts on a never-ending rollercoaster ride, etc.

The impact of anxiety on our lives can be profound, from disrupting our sleep patterns and symptoms like anxiety headaches, chest pain, and trembling sensations to changing our behavior.

But here’s the truth: dealing with anxiety is hard.

To better understand your anxiety and to find the best possible way to live with it is always a good idea to seek help from a psychologist or psychotherapist.

In the meantime, exercising,one of the best stress relief activities, can help you calm down your amygdala and the whole limbic system to give you moments of tranquility.

Exercise as a powerful stress relief activity

Have you ever felt that instant boost of energy after your workout?

Studies show that exercise has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

That’s because exercise releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals, promoting happiness and well-being. Engaging in activities such as running, swimming, dancing, or lifting weights in your local gym can help boost your mood while reducing stress. 

But the benefits of exercising for reducing anxiety don’t end here. 

  • Physical activity serves as a healthy distraction, allowing you to redirect your focus away from stressors and anxiety triggers. And when you focus on your workouts, you balance your emotions in a healthy way, without suppressing them. 
  • Working out promotes better sleep by regulating your circadian rhythm and reducing sleep disturbances. Improved sleep quality enhances mental resilience and the ability to manage stress and anxiety more effectively. So you can enjoy a good night’s sleep. 
  • Exercise reduces muscle tension, lowers blood pressure, and mitigates the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as headaches and chest pain.

While these sound amazing, the most powerful benefit of exercising is getting our power back. 

Exercising helps us improve our self-efficacy and confidence while boosting our energy, as research shows that exercise provides an optimal level of challenge to utilize the power of self-efficacy.

 It proves that we can go through unpleasant anxiety symptoms and not only survive but thrive.

Exercising in Haynes Bridge, Alpharetta

Now that we know the benefits of exercising for anxiety, it’s time to develop a plan for how to incorporate physical activity into your daily life.

Here are some practical steps to get you started:

  1. Find an activity you enjoy.
    Whether it’s jogging in the park, attending a yoga class, or playing a team sport, choose an exercise that resonates with you. Enjoyment is key to maintaining a sustainable routine.
  2. Create a schedule.
    Prioritize your mental well-being by scheduling regular workout sessions. Consistency is key, so aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity level exercise most days. By making a plan that will work for you and allow you to have some quality me time, you can avoid having stressful days packed with different activities and manage your stress better.
  3. Start small and progress gradually.
    If you’re new to exercise or dealing with physical limitations, begin with gentle activities and gradually increase intensity. The goal is to challenge yourself without overwhelming your body.
  4. Combine cardio and strength training.
    Incorporating both cardiovascular exercises and strength training into your routine maximizes the benefits. Cardio improves your overall fitness, while strength training enhances muscle tone and boosts your confidence.
  5. Seek support.
    Consider joining a fitness class or partnering up with a workout buddy. At Alloy Haynes Bridge, Alpharetta, we understand the challenges of struggling with anxiety. We know it’s not always easy to ask questions or seek support. That’s why we offer you everything you need, from individual training sessions with a personal trainer to small group fitness classes. Still, most importantly, we have your back with endless support and a sense of community to keep you motivated. Here, it’s not you against your anxiety. It’s us helping you thrive no matter what.

Don’t hesitate to take the first step today and prioritize your well-being. It’s not easy, but when you know your why, it’s definitely worth it.

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