Anxiety can be crippling if not properly managed. When it has a real grip on you, all you may do is play terrifying scenarios in our head, feel a constant uneasiness, or just lay in bed and not do anything. However, did you know that exercise can actually help to combat the symptoms of anxiety? Through both firsthand experience and proven research, we’re here to bring you the best exercises for anxiety to help you live a happier, healthier life.
Vibration Platform Machines
While these machines in themselves are not going to help with your anxiety alone, performing certain exercises on them can. That’s pretty general, though, so what are the best exercises in this case? Squats and pushups. Squats and pushups are arguably some of the best exercises you can do, especially if you’re on a time crunch and really want to maximize your results.
Squats are extremely high calorie-burners, working the entire lower chain of your body as well as your abs. Once you add the vibration into the mix, your body has to work even harder to maintain balance, further demanding more from your muscles and burning more calories. The same goes for pushups, which are one of the best exercises for the upper body, along with pull-ups. Also activating the core muscles, pushups address various muscle groups simultaneously which burns calories and helps you handle your own bodyweight. This can make you feel empowered and benefit you mentally, aside from their physical after-effects. If you haven’t quite built up your upper body strength, try alternating with 5 pushups and 5 squats.
Water has an instant relaxing effect. Swimming is another high-calorie-burning workout. The breathing control needed while doing the sport is perfect for balancing oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood which can help keep you calm. Do you prefer swimming underwater? It can actually provide sensory deprivation benefits, cutting off external stimuli and helping you enter a more relaxed state.
Initially published in 2017 in ‘Sports Medicine’, it was determined that lifting weights actually reduces anxiety symptoms. This comes as no surprise as weights place quite a bit of strain on the muscles, which consequently increases the production of endorphins even quicker than most cardio exercises. To maximize your benefits and burn even more calories, try performing multi-joint exercises such as bench presses, squats, and the leg press.
Walking / Jogging
If you’re just starting out or getting back into the swing of things, you may feel like you’re not quite ready for more intense workouts. That’s no problem, as just 10 minutes of walking has been proven to greatly reduce anxiety symptoms. Walking at a moderate pace is actually one of the best ways to combat anxiety attacks for many and can even help with depression thanks to its regulating effect on hormones.
If you can, try to walk for at least half an hour. The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it just about anywhere, and almost anyone of any physical fitness level can do it, too. Jogging or walking on a treadmill also yields great results. If you feel that you need something more intense, you can try running, which will really pump out the endorphins! In fact, you may see a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms for hours and hours after you’re done running!
If you prefer using wheels to feet, then hop on your bike and get to pedaling! If weather conditions aren’t ideal, hop on an exercise bike. However, the added coordination required to ride a “normal” bike can add additional calming effects and the sunlight may boost your mood even further. Plus, who doesn’t love the serenity offered by a beautiful nature trail or a beachside road? What’s great about cycling is that you can go at your own pace and works well with all physical fitness levels. Choose a flat road if you’re just starting out or looking for something calm. For added intensity, choose a hilly trail or one with more elevation.
Now that you’ve had the opportunity to read all about the best exercises for anxiety, which activity calls out to you? The wonderful thing is that you aren’t limited to just one. You can combine cardio with weightlifting or alternate days of different exercises! It only takes 21 days to form a habit and if you stick with it, you’ll feel increasingly better, both physically and mentally. Happy sweating!
To a Fitter Healthier You,
FitnAll in collaboration with Health & Wellness 365 (an online resource devoted to informing users and interested readers about new health, wellness, and medical topics, from Orthopedics and Elderly Therapies to Exercise Technology and Essential Oils).