February 24, 2021
If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety, you know that finding the motivation to get active can be challenging; but once you do, it can have a significant positive impact on your mental health. Exercise releases endorphins and other chemicals in your brain that increase your sense of well-being. And by forcing you to focus on the activity you’re doing, exercising takes your mind off the source of your anxiety.
When you think about exercising, the first thing that comes to mind might be hitting the gym or going for a run; but exercise is really any type of structured activity that improves your physical fitness. With that in mind, here are five helpful exercises that fight anxiety — all of which you can do in the comfort of your home:
For starters, become more active around the house. You might not think of gardening, for example, as exercise — but an afternoon of tilling soil will give you many of the benefits you’re seeking. Walking your dog, doing home improvement projects, or even washing your car are all great ways to get moving.
Yoga has been used for centuries to calm and collect a frazzled brain. Benefits of adding yoga to your daily routine can include not only a reduction in anxiety through meditative techniques, but also an increase in physical strength and endurance. Yoga comes in many forms, so whether you’re looking to build up strength, increase your flexibility, or relieve some tension after a stressful day, there’s a flow that will work for you.
Getting a good workout doesn’t necessarily require heading to the gym. Body weight exercises use your own mass instead of gym equipment to build strength and boost your metabolism. Pushups, sit-ups, dips, planks, squats, and a number of other exercises can all be done to great effect right in your living room, with or without the aid of items such as kettle bells, medicine balls, or resistance bands.
Turning living-room exercises into a session of circuit training can get your heart rate going; but to really see some benefits, engage in full-on aerobic activity. Running, brisk walking, biking, or swimming all elevate your heart rate, activating anti-anxiety neurochemicals in your brain. A vigorous cardio session can also help to decrease tension in your muscles that may be causing you to feel anxious.
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t cut loose with a healthy dance session. Not only is dancing one of the best workouts you can get, it’s also an effective way to treat stress and anxiety. All it requires is a little bit of music and enough space to get moving. So, push the coffee table out of the way, channel your inner Meredith and Christina, and “dance it out” like they do on Grey’s Anatomy!
In addition to exercising, don’t overlook the importance of the right diet to both help with your anxiety and provide the right fuel for a workout. Make sure to limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol, and drink plenty of water.
Just 30 minutes of exercise each day will do wonders for your health. Everyone can reap the rewards of improved mood, heart health, a strengthened immune system, and the other benefits of exercise. But for those suffering from anxiety the impact can be even greater. Now is the time to set your goal and get moving.