Does Working Out Help Anxiety?

If you’re struggling with anxiety, you might be wondering if working out could help. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and it can also have other benefits for your mental health. In this blog post, we’ll explore the research on whether exercise can help with anxiety and give you some tips on how to get started.


Exercise can have a profound effect on your mental health, especially if you are feeling anxious. Studies have shown that exercise can help to relieve stress, relieve depression, and reduce feelings of anxiety. There are many types of physical activities that can be beneficial for anxiety, and understanding how they can help is key to making exercise a part of your self-care plan.

Definition of Anxiety

Anxiety is a general term for several distinct mental health disorders that cause distress and fear. These disorders can collectively be referred to as “anxiety-related disorders” and affect millions of Americans of all ages.

Generally speaking, anxiety is defined as a feeling of unease, stress and worry, which can range from mild to severe. Anxiety is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, trouble sleeping or hyperventilation. Though it is natural for humans to experience fear in certain situations in life, those with an anxiety disorder experience fear or worry more frequently or intensely than normal. It can become so debilitating that it interferes with daily activities, work performance and relationships.

Anxiety-related disorders are categorized into different types based on the source of the problem and include generalized anxiety, panic disorder (panic attacks), social anxiety and specific phobias. While each disorder has its own set of symptoms that are unique to the individual person suffering from them, there are some common treatment approaches used to help reduce anxious thoughts and behaviors. With proper care and treatment plans tailored specifically to each individual’s needs, there is hope in learning how to manage anxiety successfully over time.

Overview of Anxiety Treatment Options

When it comes to treating anxiety, there are a variety of approaches that can be taken. The treatment option that is right for each individual will depend on the type and severity of the anxiety they are suffering from. Generally speaking, all forms of treatment involve addressing any negative thoughts, feelings or behaviour to help reduce symptoms.

One common form of treatment is psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy and talk therapy. During these sessions, individuals can openly discuss difficult and emotional topics with trained professionals in order to gain insight into the causes of their anxiety and learn how better to manage their symptoms.

Medication is another way to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety. Antidepressants have been found to be effective in improving mood and decreasing physical symptoms such as restlessness, muscle tension or rapid heart rate. However, it is important to note that medication alone will not cure underlying emotional or psychological issues that may be causing the anxiety disorder.

Lastly, research has shown that physical activity plays an important role in managing both depression and anxiety levels. Exercise can help improve mood by releasing endorphins into your body which act as natural painkillers as well as calming neurotransmitters like serotonin helping you relax and feel calmer for longer periods of time. Additionally, mindful activities such as yoga have also been found to provide some relief from stress or anxiety due to its ability to help lessen racing thoughts thereby providing a sense of peace within one’s own mind.

Benefits of Exercise for Anxiety

Exercise can be a great way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall mental health. It can also help you to relax and reduce tension, as well as increase your self-esteem. In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways in which working out can help with anxiety.

Improved Mood

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your overall mental health and helps to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. By reducing stress hormones like cortisol, exercise has a direct effect on your mood. Additionally, exercise releases endorphins which provide feelings of euphoria and happiness. Studies have found that regular physical activity can help regulate depression and anxiety as well as help to prevent them in the long run. Participating in activities like yoga or other forms of mindful movement can also be incredibly beneficial for managing symptoms of stress and anxiety. Exercise will not only help improve your mood, but it will also provide an outlet for pent up energy and frustrations, allowing you to manage stress in a healthy way.

Improved Sleep

Exercise can be a great way to improve your quality of sleep, which is an important part of managing anxiety. Studies have linked physical activity with a decrease in insomnia, longer periods of deeper sleep, and an overall increase in restorative sleep. Additionally, taking part in physical activities can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase endorphins, which both positively contribute to the quality of your sleep and overall wellbeing. Exercise can also help create a consistent pattern for your body, allowing you to go to bed at the same time each night for maximum benefit.

Increased Self-Confidence

Regular physical activity has been shown to increase self-confidence. Exercise can help people with anxiety feel in control of their bodies and their lives. Building strength, flexibility, and stamina can boost confidence in the short term and provide a sense of accomplishment over time. Exercise also may offer an outlet for expressing emotions, such as frustration or anger. Increased confidence can help people better manage anxious thoughts and achieve more positive outlooks on life.

Types of Exercise for Anxiety

Exercise can be an effective way to cope with anxiety. Regular exercise can help reduce overall feelings of stress and tension, and can help you manage your anxiety in the long run. Different types of exercise can have varying effects on anxiety, so it’s important to understand which types of exercise can be the most effective for managing anxiety. In this article, we will discuss the types of exercise that can help alleviate anxiety.

Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise

Low-impact aerobic exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety symptoms without putting too much strain on the body. This type of exercise does not cause significant impact or damage to your muscles or joints, making it especially suitable for people with chronic pain or other physical issues. Low-impact aerobic exercises can include swimming, biking, and walking.

These activities are beneficial for both the mind and body. Swimming is an excellent form of low-impact exercise because it gets the heart rate up while providing gentle resistance in the water, helping to improve leg strength and lung capacity over time. Biking is also great for those with joint issues because it puts minimal pressure on your legs while you work out at your own speed and intensity level. Additionally, walking can have a similar calming effect as running – making it a great way to burn calories without being overly strenuous.

Low-impact exercise can be an effective way to reduce anxiety symptoms while still allowing you to maintain your desired fitness level. Incorporating any one (or combination) of these activities into your weekly routine can help improve your overall mental health and well-being.

Strength Training

Strength training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against external resistance from weights, gravity, or a person’s own body weight. This type of exercise is especially important for those struggling with anxiety or panic attacks, as it releases endorphins (the body’s feel-good hormone) while reducing stress and aiding in relaxation.

In addition to promoting mental health and well-being, strength training can also have a positive physical effect on the body. Strength training helps build muscle mass, prevent age-related bone loss and reduce the risk of injury. It also improves balance and posture, increases metabolism, and ultimately leads to increased energy levels.

Strength training typically consists of specific exercises designed to target certain muscles or muscle groups in either a single session or divided into sessions over several days. Free weights such as dumbbells and barbells are often used for strength training at home or in the gym. Exercises like squats, push-ups or chin-ups can also be performed with minimal equipment for effective strength training sessions at any place. Strength training should be performed at least 2 times per week for long term postivie results but regularity should take precedence over intensity when it comes to exercise frequency for anxiety prevention .

Yoga and Mindfulness

Yoga and mindfulness activities can be beneficial for those looking to manage their anxiety as they help to create balance in the body, mind and spirit. This can have a calming effect and reduce the physical sensations associated with anxiety, while also providing an overall sense of well-being.

Yoga is a system of practice that contains physical movements, breathing exercises, meditation techniques, diet guidelines, and philosophical teachings. Many poses focus on stretching and strengthening areas of tension to give a sense of relaxation. Mindfulness activities involve slowing down one’s breathing to become more aware of thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. This helps you become more ‘present’ in your experience which can help shift focus away from anxious thinking patterns.

Both yoga and mindfulness activities help to create an environment conducive for relaxation by tuning into our senses, helping us stay grounded in the present moment rather than worrying about something that happened in the past or is yet to happen in the future. Practicing regularly can bring about improved mental clarity and emotional stability that can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety over time.

How to Get Started with Exercise for Anxiety

Exercise has many benefits, including improved physical and mental health, and can help decrease stress levels and reduce anxiety. You don’t need to be an athlete or have a lot of money to get started with exercising for anxiety. With the right plan, you can make a simple routine that fits your lifestyle and that can make all the difference. Let’s take a look at a few tips for getting started.

Establish a Routine

When beginning an exercise routine, it’s important to establish a routine and stick to it. This can help reduce your overall anxiety as you can anticipate when, where, and how your exercise will take place. Make sure you’re realistic when determining your workout frequency and duration. For example, if you have a full-time job and young children at home, it might not be feasible to expect that you’ll work out for 60 minutes every day. It may be more feasible to aim for 30 minutes three times per week.

Start by choosing an activity that appeals to you based on your physical abilities and interests (walking/running/swimming/dancing/yoga). Use the “SMART” goal-setting principle — specific, measurable goals within an attainable timeframe — to set yourself up for success. Set goals one step at a time — these should be small steps that are sustainable in the long-term and achievable in the short-term such as walking 10 minutes per day or swimming 3 times per week. Track your progress with a fitness journal or a running app; this will help motivate you when exercising seems like too much effort or completely overwhelming. And don’t forget to reward yourself after each milestone achieved!

Set Realistic Goals

Anxiety and exercise have a complex relationship. While physical activity can provide a safe outlet to release built-up tension, sometimes the anticipation of exercising can be overwhelming, especially if you’re already feeling anxious. That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals with your exercise routine so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure.

Start small and give yourself plenty of time as you gradually increase your activity level. Make sure to take breaks during your workout and plan in advance if it needs to end early. Try creating achievable goals that are based on how much time you can dedicate to physical activity rather than setting specific numerical targets like how many miles or how many pounds lifted.

It can also help to choose activities that make use of the prior knowledge or experience – like a sport you used to play, an old favorite class at the gym, or a dance move from an online video tutorial – and start there. The more activities you enjoy doing, the more likely it is that you will stick with them over time and build up confidence in yourself as well as your physical capabilities. Mapping out an exercise plan is key!

Find a Support System

Finding a support system for your exercise routine can be one of the most important steps you take to help manage anxiety. Working out with a friend or family member who will encourage you and offer positive feedback can be a great way to stay motivated and build self-confidence. Joining a fitness group is another good option, as it provides the opportunity to make new friends who understand the journey you are on, as well as gives you the excitement and motivation of competing against your peers. Research has shown that having social support when starting a new fitness routine or health plan can drastically increase success in achieving goals in both physical and mental health. Additionally, forming relationships with others who have experienced similar levels of anxiety can provide you helpful insights into finding effective strategies for dealing with your own anxiety.


Exercise has been demonstrated in numerous studies to have a positive effect on mental health. Not only can it help treat anxiety and depression, it can also reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and even improve cognitive functioning.

In conlcusion, the answer to the question “Does working out help anxiety?” is an emphatic yes! Exercise has the potential to dramatically increase overall mental health and well-being. A regular workout routine should be considered as part of any comprehensive treatment plan for managing or reducing anxiety symptoms. Physical activity provides real physiological benefits that in turn improve mental health and can serve as an important coping mechanism for those experiencing anxiety.

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