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Does Exercise Help Anxiety?

The physical benefits of exercise are clear. From maintaining a healthy weight to improving your cardiovascular health, physicians and fitness professionals encourage living a physically active lifestyle.

But it’s not just your physical health that can be improved with regular exercise. Studies have shown that just five minutes of aerobic exercise can provide anti-anxiety effects, making exercise a great way to help with feelings of anxiousness.

Exercise and Anxiety

The most recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey found that approximately six million people in the UK suffer with anxiety and depression and with more people actively looking after their mental health, it’s clear to see why exercise if a remedy-of-choice for so many.

Studies looking into the relationship between exercise and anxiety have found that regular physical activity can reduce fatigue, improve your concentration, and enhance overall cognitive function. Many people suffering with anxiety may feel lethargic and struggle to concentrate, making exercise a perfect remedy.

Getting your body moving can work wonders then, for your physical and mental wellbeing. And it doesn’t have to be strenuous. A 45-minute walk on your lunch break, a yoga or Pilates class, or a quick HIIT session can all help you with feelings of anxiety and stress.

There are a number of other ways you can look after your mental health too:

Improve your diet

Most of us love a sneaky chocolate treat every once in a while but eating a poor diet can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress. The saying “you are what you eat” may be a cliché, but it’s vital for physical and mental wellbeing to eat food that nourishes your body and your brain.

Consider adding food rich in omega-3s and zinc to your diet to boost brain protein, and keep your immune system in check with B vitamins. Couple this with a more active lifestyle, and you can really help keep your mental health in check.

Mindfulness and Anxiety

Many people find that mindfulness – such as meditation and breathing exercises – can be a great coping mechanism when feeling anxious or stressed. There are plenty of great podcasts you can download to help practice mindfulness and meditation if you feel this would be for you.

Keep a Diary

One of the best ways to cope with episodes of anxiety is to identify your triggers. These are unique to everyone but being able to spot patterns can help keep your anxiety under control, or even prevent an anxiety attack.

Keep a diary every time you feel anxious and note down what happened in the lead up. You should write about when you feel at your best too, so you can make sure you’re doing these things to keep your anxiety at bay.

Why not see how exercise and fitness can help you with your anxiety? We have a range of 24/7 gyms and there’s bound to be one near you. Grab a free day pass to try out your local 24/7 Fitness and take the next step to prioritising your mental and physical health.