Benefits of Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce general anxiety and interrupt the tendency to panic. Panic happens when your natural “fight or flight” reaction happens excessively or out of context. Your body produces a surge of adrenaline when faced with a threat, and exercise is a way for your body to manage that adrenaline when in panic mode. 

Regular exercise can influence these factors which underlie anxiety:

  • Reduce skeletal muscle tension
  • Speed the metabolism of extra adrenaline and thyroxin, which when present, keep you in a state of vigilance
  • Help discharge frustration that can aggravate phobias or panic

General benefits of exercise include:

  • Enhanced oxygen in the blood and thus the brain, leading to increased alertness and concentration
  • Stimulation of endorphins, which increase a sense of well-being
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved digestion and utilization of food
  • Improved elimination of toxins (from skin, lungs, and bowels)
  • Decreased cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • Weight loss and appetite suppression
  • Improved blood sugar regulation
  • Increased sense of well-being
  • Decreased insomnia
  • Improved concentration, memory, and self-esteem
  • Decreased symptoms of depression
  • Decreased dependence on drugs and alcohol

An ideal exercise program would include aerobic exercise 4-5 times a week, for at least 20-30 minutes per session. Consult your physician if you have any physical concerns that could be impacted by an exercise program. Choose an activity you will like, and vary the activity or include other people if it helps keep you interested. Be sure to warm up and cool down, and expect some initial discomfort. If you get off track or lose motivation, work on challenging your negative self-talk by remembering the positive reasons to resume or continue exercise.