How Exercise Can Help to Ease Anxiety

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of chronic worry, dread and/or fear which can take over your day to day life and thoughts. It is normal to feel some kind of anxiety from time to time but it can become a chronic condition if left unchecked. 

Symptoms of anxiety can include feeling on edge, shaking, sickness or nausea, headaches, problems sleeping, irritability and trouble concentrating. Anxiety disorders can range from mild to severe. 

Anxiety can happen to anyone, at any stage of life and it is often brought on by a traumatic or troubling experience. It can sometimes creep up on you and you may not even realise it's there until it becomes a much bigger problem. 

Anxiety often needs professional help, however there are also many things you can do to help ease the symptoms of anxiety. 


How Does Exercise Help? 

Exercise can help with your mental health in many ways and this varies from person to person, but these are some of the top reasons why exercise helps to ease the feelings associated with anxiety:


Katy West, a World Powerlifting Championship silver medallist who has experienced panic attacks and anxiety, featured on the leading mental health charity Mind website that "The difference it (exercise) made to my mental health was incredible. My mood was much better, I had more energy. Eventually I came off my (anxiety) medication."

Olympic gold medallist, Dame Kelly Holmes states "it’s (exercise) good for you if you’re struggling, or feeling rubbish. It definitely helps me to feel better about myself. 


How Much Should I Be Doing? 

The key really is to make exercise a continuous part of your weekly routine, even if that does mean little and often and at varying intensity. 

The Mayo Clinic states that 'Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference.'


Further Help 

NHS advice on depression and anxiety is 'If you have been feeling down for more than 2 weeks, see a GP to discuss your symptoms.' So it's important that you seek medical advice if you feel that anxiety has become a problem that you are no longer able to manage on your own. 


Mind call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463

Shout Text SHOUT to 85258

Heads Together 116 123


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