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How Exercise Can Reduce Stress & Anxiety

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/11/2012 6:00 AM   :  21 comments   :  10,580 Views

When I find my mood is going downhill, I usually take an exercise break to try and lift it back up. The mood boost that we get is just one of the many benefits we experience from exercising. Not only do I know that I burned some calories, improved my overall health, but I feel a lot better in general and come back with a much more positive outlook on things for quite some time afterward.

In a recent study, it was found that the mood boosting effect that we experience may help with coping and reducing anxiety and stress for an extended period of time after exercise. In this study, people either exercised or quietly rested and then were shown emotionally stimulating photos. While the group of people that simply rested quietly did experience reduced anxiety levels, their anxiety levels increased after seeing the emotionally stimulating photos and the group of people that exercised and viewed the photos continued to maintain reduced anxiety levels. This is quite an interesting study, especially for those that tend to have high anxiety levels and/or are highly stressed may be able to combat some of their symptoms by exercising. Perhaps these findings may help those that are dealing with depression too.

Of course this is just one study, but it may lead us into a direction for more studies to be done to help many people cope better with their daily anxieties and stressors with something as simple as exercise. For some people that take medication for their anxiety, stress, depression, etc., they may find a lot more benefits with exercise than they realize (and it costs less too). That's a win-win situation, if you ask me!

 

Related Links:

Bust Your Bad Mood with Exercise

Using Exercise to Relieve Depression

A Guide to Walking Meditation

Recognizing the Signs of Depression

 

Do you think exercise helps with anxiety and stress? What benefits have you experienced from exercising?



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Comments

  • 21
    Absolutely. I'm far less stressed when exercising regularly. - 12/23/2013   9:03:02 PM
  • BRIANTSHOMS
    20
    It is uncommon to discover some guy currently outside a muscle newspaper who have a terrific looking group of abdominal. It seems like as if this is just about the trickiest parts of the body to formulate, yet that is certainly one of the most gratifying with regards to words of flattery. Any time women view a person who have hard six pack, they will undoubtedly take serious notice. Identical can even be explained whenever a person recognizes a lady within a sting bikini by using it defined midriff. The real problem is usually that will exercises perhaps can be tough and they also can stress as well as strain selected parts of your system. - 8/24/2013   1:23:13 PM
  • MEGGOOBER
    19
    Just walking every day helps relieve my tension and anxiety. - 6/12/2013   7:44:22 PM
  • ELLDOCKE
    18
    I know that when I don't exercise, my stress levels go up. Not because I was obsessing about one situation, but because my body has not opportunity to shed the daily build-up of stress hormones. I also know that if I exercise before my day begins, I am less likely to drag yesterday's stressors into today. And, if I can park for away and take a five minute walk to my car each time I leave my office for a site visit, and when I return, I am more prepared & focused for each task. - 11/7/2012   8:43:42 AM
  • 17
    Definitely even if for no other reason that it forces one to NOT think about that which is tormenting them. - 10/14/2012   7:33:56 PM
  • 16
    The model in the photo is WAY too happy. Or else she's been exercising so long her brain is maxed out on endorphins. - 10/14/2012   1:09:17 PM
  • 15
    There are a few times exercise hasn't lifted my mood right away (if I keep on thinking about the stressful situation, for instance--dumb!) BUT I have never come off an exercise time in a WORSE mood than I started, AND I've accomplished the exercise. So the gain is there, regardless. - 10/13/2012   8:47:13 AM
  • 14
    Exercising gives me some time alone to think and to pray, to take control of some aspects of my life, including my physical health and strength. It does improve my mood and help me cope with later stresses, too. - 10/12/2012   4:23:50 PM
  • VANANDEL
    13
    Towards the end of a month-long vacation in New Zealand, I got really homesick. I felt so depressed. So I told my husband to get his sneakers on and we went on a long hilly walk. My depression quickly lifted and my homesickness went away. I've always known that exercise is the best way to cure the blues and to lessen stress. It really works! - 10/12/2012   9:22:03 AM
  • 12
    It definitely works for me! I, too, take exercise breaks. I have a lot of anxiety, stress, and also depression. Exercise is my best tool, and there is a noted difference when events get between me and my breaks. - 10/12/2012   6:10:52 AM
  • SP_COACH_NANCY
    11
    Running is my stress reliever! - 10/11/2012   2:53:02 PM
  • 10
    My alarm woke me up @ 3:30 this morning (like always) & I felt SO sleepy, but I had already left my clothes out for workout and there was no argument!! Grabbed my coffee, got awake and headed for the gym! I love exercise and feel cheated if I do not get my time in ............. - 10/11/2012   2:08:02 PM
  • 9
    Exercise always helps my mood, walking especially. - 10/11/2012   2:05:42 PM
  • 8
    I agree with everyone else - exercise is great for mood. I have rough bouts with mood swings before my period and a side effect of watching my diet and increasing my exercise to lose weight has been a reduction in the swing of these mood swings. I can go to the gym, angry at the world, annoyed with my spouse and come out gentle, kind and loving. My kids even joke when I snap at them "must be time for mom to go workout". I had one session with my trainer where she looked at my husband after I was sweaty, exhausted and grinning happily that she saved his life ('cause I was snapping about him when I got there).

    I love working out for the lift of my spirits as much as I do the transformation of my health and my body. - 10/11/2012   2:02:34 PM
  • 7
    Exercise has definitely helped both my depression and anxiety. Since adopting a healthy lifestyle I have gone from taking a lot of medications to taking one. - 10/11/2012   1:44:21 PM
  • GARNETTS
    6
    And remember, sometimes the only "exercise" you can muster at such a time is to put one foot in front of another. Do it. That one foot, then another, then another, will really help. Wallowing will make it worse. - 10/11/2012   10:12:53 AM
  • 5
    Exercise really has helped my anxiety and depression. One of the most helpful forms of exercise for me is just to talk a brisk walk outside. Getting out in the sunlight, breathing in the fresh air, being out in nature, which I always find restorative, all make me feel better. I have been off medication for a year and a half now, and I honestly believe that was possible because I started walking. - 10/11/2012   9:42:45 AM
  • 4
    When I'm feeling down or stressed, the first thing I can think is when can I exercise. It really helps me deal with daily stressors. - 10/11/2012   8:37:06 AM
  • 3
    I absolutely believe in using exercise to cope with anxiety. I was THIS close to starting anxiety meds, but I had too much anxiety over taking anxiety meds that I didn't. Since I've started exercising regularly, while I still have moments of poor thoughts/anxiety, I don't feel medication was, and definitely isn't now, necessary. - 10/11/2012   8:32:15 AM
  • 2
    Definitely! I've used exercise to help me deal with the stress of medical issues lately and it really helps. - 10/11/2012   7:31:46 AM
  • 1
    I believe exercise and good eating are better than drugs, at least for me. When I told my doctor of my plan to replace drugs with an entire different lifestyle of eating clean and exercise he told me if more people did that, a lot of doctors would be out of a job. The human body is made to be worked, not sit on a chair or couch all day. We need clean, high quality fuel, and good work outs.

    Good luck to everyone on their journey. I wish you success on your path. - 10/11/2012   6:34:30 AM

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