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How Does Exercise Improve Anxiety? January 7, 2020

Lincoln, Lancaster
How Does Exercise Improve Anxiety?, Lincoln, Nebraska

Every so often, anxiety can be a helpful response that allows you to recognize and take action against possible dangers. But when you’re in a constant state of unease, anxiety can quickly become a problem that impacts your mental and physical health. The good news is that there are many ways you can alleviate the stress, such as by strengthening your body through routine fitness. If you’re curious about natural ways to relieve stress, here are a few specific ways that exercise may help.

How Does Fitness Help Alleviate Anxiety?

Thought Distraction

Anxiety is often characterized by racing, catastrophic thoughts. As your mind is clouded by these thoughts, the anxiousness can become even worse, even leading to a panic attack. Exercise can immediately combat this pattern by forcing the mind to focus on the physical demands of the activity.

For example, when you’re running, you may find that you’re only thinking about making it to the end—not about the other worries in your life. Or, if you’re doing yoga, intentional deep breathing can help boost overall mindfulness long after you’re done with practice.

Balances Hormones

anxietyWorking out is known to reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline—two hormones that can contribute to increased feelings of stress. Exercise also helps boost your body’s production of endorphins—a brain chemical that can minimize pain and elevate mood. Together, these changes in brain chemistry can promote relaxation and reduce symptoms.

Reduced Sensitivity to Triggers

When people experience symptoms of stress—such as an increased heart rate, heavy perspiration, and intense breathing—their anxiousness often only gets worse. Exercise can fight against this relationship by creating many of the same symptoms in a more controlled environment. Over time, one’s exposure to these physical reactions can make them feel less threatening, and in turn, less likely to prompt an anxiety attack.

Improved Sleep

Not getting enough quality sleep can increase a person’s risk of developing an anxiety disorder. At the same time, having anxiety can make it more difficult for one to get to sleep. Exercise helps dissolve this disruptive cycle by promoting the production of relaxation hormones, as well as tiring out the body’s muscles. With routine fitness, you should be able to sleep easier, and in turn, give your mind better rest.


If you’re searching for additional support, turn to the Lincoln Psychiatric Group. Providing comprehensive mental health services in Lincoln, NE, this therapy clinic can help diagnose, explore, and manage common disorders, including anxiety and depression. Understanding the individual nature of these conditions, these caring psychologists and psychiatrists will develop a plan that is customized to your needs. For more information about their services, visit this provider online. To schedule a convenient consultation, call (402) 476-7557.

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