You are reading Getting active, the boost we need to be active, however, makes us happier and healthier.
Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows how helpless you can feel at times. Some days you may feel like your anxiety is quite mild, while other days you may feel like anxiety is taking over your life. But exercise can be a great saving grace for our mental health.
This is what Adele discovered when she suffered “the most terrifying anxiety attacks” after the divorce.
In her interview with Oprah, the singer discussed how working with a personal trainer and starting boxing improves her mental health.
âI noticed how much I trusted my coach’s presence when I felt so lost, but I also had no anxiety when I was in the gym. It became my time – I had a plan every day when I didn’t have one, âshe shared. âIt really helped me question myself. “
Adele is certainly on the right track. Exercise can have huge benefits for our well-being – if used the right way.
How Can Exercise Relieve Anxiety?
Dr Janaki Thakerar, general practitioner at Babylon GP, ââsays exercise has been proven time and again to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and negative mood.
âThis is especially seen in aerobic exercise, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, but it has also been seen with strength training,â she told HuffPost UK. “In addition, it also helps improve social interactions, self-esteem and general well-being.”
The chemicals that are released during exercise can improve stress and anxiety. âPhysical activity can also help release substances called dopamine and serotonin (‘happiness hormones’), which can improve mood,â says Dr. Thakerar.
“During exercise, increased blood flow to the brain can influence the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis and reduce stress levels.”
Over time, exercise can also reduce the amount of cortisol – the stress hormone – in your body, which prevents the body from being exposed to prolonged stress and may reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. in the future.
It can also improve sleep, while distracting us from excessive negative thoughts, says personal trainer Dom Thorpe.
“Exercise also increases the levels of other endogenous opioids, such as endorphins and endocannabinoids, which inhibit pain and produce positive moods,” he adds.
So how can you incorporate exercise into your daily life?
Dr Thakerar thinks it is important to start. âIt doesn’t matter the size. There is the misconception that you have to sweat for an hour in the gym to be active. You may even see benefits in doing an extra 5-10 minutes a day, âshe says.
âFind something you like. This means that you are more likely to stick with it and therefore get the most out of regular exercise. Find an accountability partner. If you exercise with someone it will be much more enjoyable and you will be more likely to continue so you don’t feel guilty for canceling.
Thorpe says the most suitable type of training for anxiety will vary depending on each individual case. If the thought of going to a gym or other confined populated spaces is a concern, a home workout or outdoor activity may be preferable.
Likewise, if loneliness or the fear of doing things wrong is an issue, training in a group or with a friend / trainer you know can allay the fears and make the process less stressful, âhe says.
You might be drawn to exercises that combine relaxation and meditation, like yoga or tai chi, Thorpe explains. However, higher intensity types of exercise such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) are thought to lead to greater post-exercise âhighsâ, due to the release of endorphins. Experiment to find what works for you and remember that there is no right answer.
Be kind to yourself when exercising for anxiety – it’s about improving your mental health, not about being the fastest, strongest athlete in the world.
That said, Jodie Cariss, therapist and founder of the Self Space Instant Therapy service, believes setting micro or achievable goals and celebrating your efforts to achieve them can be an act of self-love.
“[This] can be a great way to motivate and empower yourself, something that can support you in life beyond training, âshe says. “It’s also a great way to test your emotional flexibility, to check in with yourself on a daily basis what feels manageable to achieve today, to ask questions such as’ how do I feel ‘,’ am I enough good “,” how am I going to feel better after ‘,’ can I let it go if it doesn’t help me without punishing me? ‘ ”
You can make exercising even more rewarding by crossing your workout off a list or marking it on a calendar, says Cariss.
âThe physical process of scoring this really reinforces the message of achieving something,â she explains. âRewarding yourself with something can also honor what you’ve done for yourself, it doesn’t necessarily mean food or something expensive, but something nourishing that honors your dedication. “
Finally, take the time to appreciate how good you feel immediately after the sessions. This will make it a little easier to prepare for future sessions and help you build healthy habits to manage your anxiety for the long term.
Remember, exercise is only part of the puzzle, and if your anxiety doesn’t seem manageable, talk to a mental health professional.
Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features that encourage you to add movement to your day because it’s not only good for the body, but also for the mind. We understand: Workouts can be a bit strenuous, but there are ways to move more without dreading it. Whether you like hikes, bike rides, YouTube workouts, or hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.
- Disturbs, open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 0300 123 3393.
- Samaritans offers a listening service open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE and will not appear on your phone bill).
- CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) has a helpline open from 5 p.m. to midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and an online chat service.
- The mixture is a free assistance service for those under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected]
- Rethinking mental illness offers you practical help thanks to its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). You can find more information at rethink.org.