Doing physical exercise and being physically active helps us to have a better quality of life, to age more actively, to help our system of defenses and prevent infections, it helps us to concentrate and improve our memory and improves our ability to self-control.
This is not the only thing that sports and physical exercise can do for us: those of us who suffer or have ever suffered from anxiety know how difficult it is to control the symptoms of this disease. In those moments, the last thing we usually want is to exercise or move, however, it is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. And yes, physical exercise can help us fight against anxiety.
How physical exercise helps us manage anxiety
It helps us to relax
Doing physical exercise helps you release endorphins and helps your body relax more easily after exercise. By strengthening and working the muscles we also get more control over it, so that it is easier for us to recognize when we are tense and when relaxed and therefore able to remedy the moment we feel an abnormal tension.
It helps you sleep better
It may seem a little relevant benefit, but it is not. Exercising helps us sleep better and rest well. Some people, as we told a few days ago in Vitónica, go to the gym with the sole purpose of sleeping better.
And sleep better directly affects our levels of anxiety. When rested we will have more facilities to maintain concentration, we will find ourselves more rested and relieved.
Change the focus of attention
When we are suffering from a peak of anxiety our focus is constantly put on the discomfort we feel. It is very difficult to get out of there or focus on something else which, at the end of the day, is completely exhausting. However, exercising is so demanding for our body and our attention that it almost forces us to disconnect from our discomfort in order to focus on the task we are carrying out.
This moment of disconnection and of concentrating on something other than our anxiety is very necessary since it will help us to rest, and to learn to change the focus, so that little by little we can do it with other tasks.
We release irisin
Irisin is a hormone that seems to be related to anxiety levels. A greater release of irisin could mean lower levels of anxiety. And how can we release this hormone? Well, very simple, doing physical exercise. Specifically, carrying out aerobic exercises.
Improve our self-confidence
Sometimes, people who suffer from anxiety have problems of insecurity and self-confidence and self-efficacy, even causing them to question themselves and all their choices constantly. This constant doubt is caused by our anxiety, but also causes it to get worse. It is a bit the whiting that bites its tail.
However, physical exercise improves our self-confidence and our sense of self-efficacy as we gradually improve, achieving goals and feeling better in our body.
Improves the respiratory system
People who suffer anxiety know it: we breathe badly. In general, we tend to make very short and shallow breaths, bringing air only to the upper part of the lungs.
This type of agitated and superficial breathing is a characteristic feature that ends up provoking another vicious circle: the more anxiety we feel the more agitated we breathe; the more agitatedly we breathe the more anxiety we feel as this type of breathing is usually a response to fear, danger and tension.
Doing sports forces you to learn to breathe better, also improving our lung capacity and the control we have over our own breathing. Thanks to this, we will learn to breathe properly in our day to day, which will favor relaxation.