Does Exercise Help Anxiety And Depression?

Can Exercise Help With Depression?

If you are asking yourself “does exercise help anxiety and depression?” then you might be happy to know that the answer is “yes!”

There are multiple studies and researches done on this subject and physical activity can alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety.

This is a great reason to start going to the gym on a regular basis and reap up all the benefits provided by exercising and fitness.

Here are several ways physical exercises can help you cope with depression.

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1) Exercising Can Change Your Focus

Many people are depressed simply because they are too worried and they think too much about the negative sides of life.

For example, those people’s minds are focused on bills, taxes, their boss who is a bad person, the gossiping around them and so on. By exercising on a regular basis, you can totally change your focus.

Doing mild physical activity will make you concentrate on your body, your breathing, your muscles and your overall physique.

As a result, your mind will get a break from worries and problems and you will feel better. Performing exercises regularly will help you cope with daily stress easier and this will alleviate depression in the long run.

2) Exercising Releases Endorphins

These hormones are also called the hormones of happiness and everyone needs them to have a satisfying and fulfilling life.

When you work out, your brain releases endorphins and other substances which will lift your spirits. If you have ever heard of the “runner’s high” then now you know what it is all about.

Jogging, swimming, doing cardio workouts or lifting weights will force your brain to release endorphins and as a result, you will feel much better and have a clearer mind.

3) Exercising Will Boost Your Self Esteem

Depression and anxiety are two unpleasant feelings which stem from a low self esteem. People who don’t trust their strengths and have little to no confidence in themselves will eventually experience feelings of depression and anxiety.

Although this is a natural, logical thing, it is not something you are forced to live with every day.

If you start a workout program and you stick with it, your self esteem will automatically be improved. You will feel better about yourself. It will become part of your identity.

You will think about yourself as a person who is disciplined and has the power to make a change. In the long run, exercising will be the backbone of your self esteem and it will make you feel much more confident and powerful.

As a result, feelings of depression and anxiety will surely decrease, until they will be eliminated altogether.

4) Exercising Improves Your Overall Health

Working out is always a great way to improve your health, there are so many health benefits which can be taken from physical exercises.

For example, people who are depressed and feel anxious are more likely to have a poor posture, have high blood pressure and even be overweight.

If those people start a workout program, they will automatically experience the full benefits. Exercising is known to reduce blood pressure and sugar levels, to increase stamina, boost the metabolism and help burn fat in the long run.

As a result, those who are depressed will lose weight and substantially improve their health.

Additionally, exercising strengthens the back muscles which in turn will help everyone have a correct posture at work and at home.

Having a good posture will in turn improve the self esteem and any depression and anxious feelings will be gone.

5) Exercising Improves Sleep

Nothing can be better and more rejuvenating than a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many people who struggle with depression and anxiety rarely sleep well.

Even worse, statistics show that almost half of the world population suffers from a sleep disorder of some sort.

You can eliminate this by exercising.

Working out regularly will help you relax and eliminate stress and tension from your muscles – these are the enemies who prevent you from sleeping well.

After a couple of days or maybe a week, you will see that your sleep is deeper, without interruptions and more rejuvenating.

As a result, you will feel better and your depression and anxiety will consequently subside.

Taking on Depression With Exercise

Now you have 5 powerful answers to the question “does exercise help anxiety and depression?”. Eliminating depression won’t happen overnight, but it is definitely possible!

Take action now and you will thank yourself later.

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14 thoughts on “Does Exercise Help Anxiety And Depression?

  1. In this article you have done a good job in stressing out how exercises helps in fighting depression, this is a good one. Exercise is been known for ages to help in weight loss, fight aging and many other issues, I highly recommend at least 3 times in a week exercise routine for my students. Thank you for this article.

  2. Hi Chris,

    I am a regular reader of your site and love so many of your articles. This article in particular hits home for me.

    I have been dealing with anxiety for years now. I have also been diagnosed with insomnia. I am sure the 2 are probably related.

    I try to exercise as much as possible to help deal with my anxiety, but I go through phases. I will be really good about exercising for about 6 months and then things come up and I get out of my routine and before I know it a month has gone by and I haven’t exercised at all. Then I find it hard to get back into it.

    I know that lifting weights is one of the most recommended forms of exercise however, when I am in one of my non-exercising periods, the last thing I want to do is lift weights.

    I do have an elliptical at home though and I would be more likely to use that for half hour sessions a few times a week and catch up on my favorite TV shows. Do you think that only using an elliptical is still a good form of exercise to help with anxiety?

    After a few weeks of only using the elliptical machine I find it much easier to get back into lifting weights.

    Thanks for another great article!

    1. I think any sort of exercise can help with anxiety Simone, I also think it can help with depression. It’s nice to hear that you have found some sort of exercise to take on those anxious feelings. Good luck (and thanks for stopping by again!).

  3. I’ve definitely always found that I feel a lot better after exercise. Not that I suffer from depression as such. I feel fine most of the time, but I feel great when I exercise. It must be those endorphins as you say.

    But there is a psychological benefit, too. In the past, if I have had worries on my mind, a good walk helps to clear my head. Then I can come back and feel clearer about what I need to do to solve my problems or sort any unresolved issues out.

    1. I’m the same Marcus – whenever I get back from a run I feel good about myself and my problems seem a little clearer!

  4. exercise is the key to happiness.
    i personally know some people. some were in depression. others are borderline. my advice was always to exercise. everything you mention about the effects of exercise is spot on. regular exercise releases endophins otherwise known as the feel-good factor hormones, at the same time suppressing the perception of pain. this acts as a sort of dominio effect causing you to feel good about yourself, and feeling positive regardless of your current issues that may be bogging you down. this gives you the energy to tackle problems and improve sleep, self-esteem and health. its a win win situation. unfortunately, the big barrier prior to exercise is actually doing it. that is one of the biggest problem mentally that a lot of people face. laziness? lack of motivation? or just dont have the mental strength to start exercising?
    this is a good post. i dont know if you have done this yet or not, but have you thought of perhaps doing a post on how to help people fight this mental issue in order to successfully start exercising?

    1. Well that sounds like an article that may well be out of our league Arif – we are not qualified medical professionals so putting an article like that out there, based on our own experience, may cause more harm than good!

      Thanks for the suggestion though – it is an excellent idea for a more medical based website!

  5. Wow, such great points. The exercise effect on “depression” is like a chicken and egg thing for me. I’m not sure that I WAS depressed before I was addicted to exercise, but after I was injured and unable to exercise, and having setbacks every time I got my exercise level up again, I started BECOMING DEPRESSED when I couldn’t do it. Then I started feeling like that 3 mile walk was my LIFELINE so it DEFINITELY has an effect on us mentally, I totally see that now.

    1. I was actually the same Alexx – when I injured my foot I went back to running far too early…and ended up in a lot of pain every day! I got a bit ‘down’ due to the lack of exercise in my daily routine – I missed my morning run too much!!!!!

  6. I’ve been learning a lot lately about exercise and good diet. I knew that exercise was good for you but I didn’t realise how much it could influence your mental health! After reading this article I am much more enlightened as to the benefits of exercise. The question is how to implement that and get moving ?? The first step is always the hardest I think.

    1. Yes the first step is the hardest Hannah but once you get into it you’ll be surprised how natural it will feel. Exercise is one of those things that can really surprise you – when you start feeling and looking better you won’t be able to stop!

      Just start off with a simple jog with some music on – Mp3 etc.

  7. This is why I love working out so much. I’m sure you know the saying runners high. It is so true post work out. You can go into the gym sad or mad and leave feeling happy. The Endorphins that are now charging through your body, and the sense of accomplishment of completing a workout. in my opinion, the best therapeutic treatment you can get!

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more there Kurtis – it’s like a ‘free high’ whenever you finish your chosen fitness regime! I also agree with the sense of accomplishment, as long as you’ve reached the targets you had in sight…

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