The Best Workouts to Reduce Anxiety
It is no secret that exercise has many benefits. It can reduce depression, improve sleep, and even help with weight loss. A lesser-known benefit of exercising is its ability to relieve anxiety. Alexander Djerassi, an expert on this topic, says, “Exercise lowers the level of stress hormones in their blood which reduces emotional reactivity.” The best workouts for reducing anxiety are those that raise their heart rate without causing too much strain on the body.
Djerassi recommends running because running is a great cardiovascular workout that doesn’t place too much stress on their joints. It has been shown to produce mood-enhancing chemicals in the body. Studies show that running produces endorphins and serotonin, which fight depression and increase happiness. Runners also have a lower risk of anxiety disorders than people who don’t exercise at all.
Yoga, unsurprisingly, is also a great workout for reducing anxiety. Just like running, yoga raises their heart rate without straining the body or causing injury. The combination of controlled breathing and physical movement has been shown to affect both stress levels and feelings of depression positively. Yoga’s breathing techniques can help reduce the fight-or-flight response triggered by fear or stress, which helps calm an overactive mind.
Swimming laps is another fantastically effective workout that Alexander Djerassi recommends for reducing anxiety. Like running, it gets their heart pumping while not putting any strain on their joints. Swimming also benefits the mind because it is a solo activity that involves mindfulness, so they focus only on their swimming rather than anything else in their lives.
Strength training is different from cardio workouts because it does place stress on their muscles and joints. But Alexander says that the benefits of weight training for anxiety outweigh any small risks to the body. He explains, “Weight training causes the body to release testosterone and endorphins, which reduces anxiety.” Also, studies show that regular weight training increases self-esteem and self-confidence.
Hiking is a great way to burn calories and reduce anxiety. They don’t need to spend hours on the trail for it to be effective. Even a twenty-minute hike through their neighbourhood can help them reduce stress. Hiking also provides ample opportunity for mindfulness because hikers are usually alone or with just one other person. The combination of physical activity and solitude is very beneficial for mental health.
Dancing is one of the most fun activities that can reduce anxiety, according to Djerassi. They can attend a class, join an amateur dance group, or just turn on their favourite music and start moving in their living room. Dancing has been shown to increase self-confidence in people with low self-esteem, so it’s also beneficial for reducing social anxiety. Like other forms of cardio exercise, dancing increases serotonin levels in the brain, lifting mood and fighting depression.
Like running, cycling is a great cardiovascular workout that doesn’t strain the body. It’s also another solo activity, so it allows them to focus their energy on something other than thoughts of their day-to-day life.