Anxiety disorders are becoming more and more common, possibly because more people are starting to recognize the signs of anxiety that go far beyond normal worry and agitation to indicate a full-blown medical condition. Doctors have plenty of treatments for stress-busting, including medications and therapies, but many medical professionals will tell you one of the best things you can do to beat anxiety-related symptoms is to exercise.
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Exercising can feel almost impossible when you’re paralyzed by intense anxiety and the serious problems that can occur with disorders like PTSD, GAD, and others. But physical activity is one of the best ways you can treat the mildest to the most intense symptoms of your disorder, and even a little bit of movement can be helpful. So bring on the exercises!
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Doing yoga is great for anxiety-related issues, simply because it asks the individual to slow everything down and focus on their breathing. No matter what pose you’re in and no matter how intense your practice is, the breathing should always come first. Even if your anxiety isn’t letting you get out of bed, you can practice yoga in its simplest form by closing your eyes, slowing your breathing down, and taking deep, calming breaths.
Dance classes like Zumba can actually be great to help relieve anxiety and to make you feel comfortable and healthy at the same time. Other types of dance classes—like salsa, belly dancing, and hiphop—are also great ways to get loose and exercise. If you don’t feel ready to dance with others, just put on one of your favorite jams in your bedroom and bop along to the music.
Hiking is a great alternative to an actual exercise class, plus it gets you out in the fresh air. Walking in places with lots of trees and flora will also lower the hormones in your body that produce the feeling of stress. Though it may seem like a cliché, there’s a reason why getting back to nature can help bust the cobwebs and help you find a calmer headspace.]
If you can get your body up to it, running is one of the best ways to bust calories, boost your mood, and generally improve your overall health. It can also be meditative for your brain, as it causes you to repeat the motion of putting one foot in front of the other to a rhythm. It can be hard sometimes for those struggling with mental disorders to engage in such a vigorous activity, though, so you can always start out walking. As long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other, you’re helping yourself.
This is a low-key exercise you can take on that will also help you improve your living space, which in turn, will benefit your mental state. In some ways, cleaning is the ultimate exercise for anxiety! If you feel you’ll have trouble focusing, give yourself a specific task like “vacuum the carpets” instead of a broad one like “clean the house.”