anxiety signHow long has it been since you’ve felt good—really, really good—as you go through your busy day full of responsibilities and deadlines? If you struggle with anxiety from time to time (or on a daily basis), you know the drill: your anxiety can paralyze you, and prevent you from living the healthiest, happiest life possible. Here’s the good news: your workouts can actually help ease your anxiety, and minimize its symptoms. Keep reading to find out why.

Why Exercise Can Lessen Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety can manifest itself physically or mentally. How does yours appear in your life? If you experience any of the following, increasing your movement is a must:

  • Sweaty palms;
  • Interrupted night’s sleep, tossing and turning, insomnia;
  • Irritability;
  • Anticipating the worst;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Fatigue

Emotional anxiety, which often comes in the form of fear and worry and manifests itself in many different ways, can become minimized simply by moving. If you’re sedentary, it’s easy to dwell on the negative, causing more anxiety to result. But when you take just one simple step to get your body moving (a walk outside, a yoga class with a friend, or simply dancing around in your underwear, Risky Business style!) guess what? Endorphins (which is the chemical in your brain responsible for feeling and thinking happy thoughts) is released. As a result, you can gain a fresh perspective, allowing you to step outside of your anxiety.

During a workout, you immediately begin to feel better because you’re being productive, and moving towards a goal—no matter how insignificant it may seem. Exercise boosts your confidence, which is more powerful than anxiety itself. And, instead of coping with your anxiety by drinking, overeating or simply dwelling in negative thought, exercise provides the perfect coping strategy. When you’re exercising in any form, you give your body and your mind something positive to focus on.

Exercise is Distraction for Your Body and Mind

When you’re anxious, depressed, or simply feeling ‘the blues’, getting off of the couch, out of the house and into the weight room is probably the last thing you feel like doing. Whether you have minor or major anxiety attacks from time to time, take that first step—which is indeed the hardest. Know that as you commit to tomorrow’s pilates class, or take a hike at your nearby national state park that getting in your car and moving is the hardest part. Once you get there, it’s a breeze. Know why? Because the exercise isn’t really about working off last night’s dinner, or improving your heart health.  Taking that step to exercise is about your confidence and your commitment to squish your anxiety to bits. You deserve to have a peaceful life—and exercise is your shortcut there!