Medicine for Anxiety is Exercise!

Exercise really is medicine for anxiety, in my case and for many of our clients too. You know, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, fatigue, worry, a lack of focus and becoming light headed are all feelings that would restrict me at work every day. And it can come in many different forms and effect people in many different ways. However, there are things we can do to manage it better or to reduce the frequency of them occurring.


The Long List of Life Stressors

The Chimp Paradox book explains it so well by saying that back in the day we had situations of danger that could kill us instantly. Like a very hungry saber tooth tiger for example. And this would rapidly activate our fight, flight or freeze survival response. But these days it’s quite rare that we become someones meal. Yet we have very frequent stressors coming from all angles that mount up. Such as:






Hectic social schedule

Social media addictions

A mobile phone that pings all day everyday

Always multitasking despite humans not being good at it


It’s worth noting that exercise and healthy eating help our bodies to tolerate stressors much more easily.


Exercise is Medicine for Anxiety but so is Nature

So, we don’t really get any relaxation at all in our lives. Thus, it makes sense that we frequently dip into chronic states of feeling completely on edge. Because bathing in stress no matter who you are leads to a higher chance you’ll bump into a panic attack at some point. And it’s often the simplest of things that help to counter stress. Such as:


A walk in nature

Reading a book

Having time away from technology

Lighting some candles and having a hot soak


Listening to some meditative music or observing your breathing for 3-5 minutes

Watching a film and making the room cozy

Getting an early night (a must for us parents)

Organizing a better schedule that makes for a little you time

Better preparation

Turning up early instead of last minute

Putting ambiance fireplace visuals via YouTube for a more peaceful work from home environment or when doing chores

Book some time off work (and don’t work)

Let your hair down with friends (zero work talk)

Be creative by drawing a picture or make something seasonal (we do this with the kids but secretly enjoy it)

Declutter a room in your house – tidy house tidy mind

If the sun is out try to get 20-30 minutes of it for your daily dose of vitamin D


Now, type into the comments section how many of the above points you honestly implement on a weekly basis? Because by adding just a few of these to your lifestyle can really take that invisible stress load off your shoulders!


Why Exercise is Medicine for Anxiety

Back when my anxiety was rife I knew I needed to manage it better. And that’s when I started going to the gym to release pent up tension and to take advantage of the mental benefits of exercise. Initially, I stuck to all the cardio machines with my cap on, head down, earphones plugged in, in hide mode. But these days, I follow a structured exercise routine (mainly weight lifting) and I experience it’s positive stress relief influence on a daily basis!


Consequently, I benefited in the following ways:

Boost in mood

Improved training performance and an empowering feeling

Decreased stress

Improved clarity of thought

Calmer poise generally

Increased self-esteem

Better sleep

Enhanced work productivity

A purpose other than work

More positive energy around the family

Better ability to reflect and appreciate my life and efforts

And of course less and more controlled anxiety attacks


Research shows that exercise releases endorphins which basically make us feel more alive and positive. And it’s a high that is available to everyone for free! Now, there will be some who may require more in depth help for their anxiety. But I feel exercise and the aforementioned points can play a significant role in helping us.


Workout Tracking Provides focus and Motivation

When I am exercising now I record exactly how many rounds I achieve in a HITT session, how many reps I achieve in a set and how many KG’s I lift each week. So, this data is POWERFUL because it shows me I am improving which is highly motivating and gives me something to aim towards. It empowers me into believing I belong in a gym. As a result, I no longer feel I have to hide beneath my cap, I talk to other gym goers and I feel part of its community. So, I connect with others and it feels good to socialize.

Set Goals

Setting and achieving short term training goals/targets in strength, body fat, fitness or muscle gain will provide a sense of purpose. Personally, this confidence has spread to the rest of my life and over time my panic attacks have decreased. Also my ability to deliver information to groups of colleagues is easier and after years of suffering I acknowledge that smart and specific exercise really is medicine for anxiety.


If you want to learn how to follow an effective training regime, eat well, connect with others and improve your overall physical and mental health. Then our online finger print unique coaching is where to start. It provides all of these benefits in virtual form direct through your phone or laptop like a PT in your pocket.


So, have a look around to see if we can help to enhance your life too.

About Luke

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