World Executives Digest| 7 Best Exercises to Help Reduce Anxiety and Stress |Are you one of the 40 million American adults struggling with anxiety? Do you want to try something beyond anxiety medication? Research shows that there’s one highly effective way to help lower anxiety and stress: exercise.
Here are seven exercises that can help you reduce anxiety.
Ever since yoga originated in India more than 2,500 years ago, practitioners have valued it for health, healing, and spiritual freedom. Yoga can help reduce the impact of stress on anxiety sufferers, so people who practice yoga have smaller reactions to events and thoughts that cause them stress.
Physical reactions to stress include rapid breathing, raised heart rate, and sweating. Medication for anxiety is often designed to address these symptoms. Using yoga to minimize the stress response can also reduce these physical reactions by lowering the heart rate and calming breathing.
- Tai Chi
Originally developed in China for self-defense, tai chi has evolved into slow and graceful movements described as meditation in yoga. The gentle exercise of tai chi promotes serenity and deep breathing. Like yoga, it can reduce a person’s mental and physical responses to stress.
If you don’t want to start a strenuous exercise routine, choose walking. Brisk walking builds muscle and provides a low-impact cardio workout, which raises your heart rate enough to give a physical benefit without being overwhelming.
Walkers also benefit from going outside. A team at Cornell University found that just 10 minutes in natural settings helped students feel happier and reduce the effects of physical and mental stress. It’s even better if you can do it with friends since socializing with friends also helps soothe anxiety.
Hiking doesn’t just get you walking; it gets you out to explore natural, wild spaces. With a hike, you can create a personalized workout by setting your own speed and distance. You can also set the difficulty by choosing rugged terrain or steep hills.
Yet another outdoor activity, gardening counts as exercise with all the lifting, digging, grasping, or mowing. The CDC calls gardening “an excellent way to get physical activity,” and includes it as one of the ways to get their recommended 2 1/2 hours of activity every week. Hands-on activities such as gardening also keep the hands busy to let the brain focus on other tasks.
As with all of the options for cardio, tennis can help bring down high blood pressure and heart disease. Working out triggers endorphins, which produce feelings of peace and satisfaction. Tennis also brings people together, which adds the benefit of socializing.
Even though it’s exercise, dancing feels like fun, not just work. You experience the benefits of interacting with others, and you can get your heart rate up with the right dance choices.
Music itself can help reduce anxiety. When people listen to classical music, their heart rates and breathing rates can slow down. On the other hand, bright and cheerful music can make people feel happy.
Exercise Away Anxiety and Stress
Since exercise can help you deal with anxiety, talk to your doctor to plan the best combination of lifestyle and medication options. Get moving to help get your anxiety and stress under control!
Did you enjoy this article? If so, check out the rest of our blog posts, packed with helpful tips and tricks for fitness, travel, food, and fashion!