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For some, a news alert on a mobile phone is enough to trigger a Pavlovian spike in blood pressure. But here's the good news: Whether you're feeling the pressure to keep your head down or if you're one of the 40 million Americans affected by anxiety, exercise can help manage your symptoms. Studies have shown that 15 to 30 minutes of moderate-to-low intensity exercise three times a week can reduce anxiety and, most importantly, produce results after each session.
"The data on cardiovascular exercise and mental health is perfect," says New York-based clinical psychologist Ben Mi Kelis, PhD, "The patients I treat must have some kind of exercise, otherwise they wouldn't care about their mental health."
While not a substitute for drugs and treatments, and everyone's mind and body are different, exercise releases endorphins and regulates your mood. It will allow you to have a healthy sleep schedule and reduce fatigue and stress. Exercise can also boost your self-esteem, which is a great distraction. Combine it with social activities to help ease anxiety.
But how you exercise matters. It is important to find an activity that will not aggravate the disease. 'For mental health, we need to think about what kind of exercise makes people feel good,' says Chersi Graham, a fitness instructor,.Is it good news? You're not limited to cardio.
1.Mindfulness strength training
If you have anxiety, you may have trouble concentrating. To live in the moment, incorporate attention (which helps ease anxiety) into activities you already enjoy. "It's something we think of in yoga, Pilates and Tai chi, but not in strength training," Graham said. "It can be anything from feeling your heart to noticing your hand on the barbell -- the mind-body connection can be powerful."Strength training can also help ease anxiety by boosting confidence. Graham's advice? Exert oneself to do STH. "Picking up a heavy object off the floor, and the technicality of it," she said. "A lot of people get excited when they get it for the first time."
One symptom of anxiety is irritability. Does it hurt? Fasten up your hiking boots. If a giant redwood tree ever stood above you, you might have been in awe. It's an emotion evoked by the great outdoors, thinking about ourselves in the bigger picture. In one study, researchers found that startled subjects had lower levels of the cytokine IL-6, a marker of stress-related inflammation. Another study found that people were more focused and happy after spending time in lush greenery."Hiking is a great metaphor for life," says Colorado Springs health educator Teresa Vogt. "The journey is beautiful and challenging; Sometimes you have to go downhill to get to the top. These metaphors can help us reframe our thinking about life, which in turn can help us reduce anxiety." She suggests starting with performance-oriented goals, such as completing a one-mile hike in 20 minutes.
Running may not sound like relaxation, but studies show that rhythmic activities like meditation are effective relaxation and coping skills. "For me, the repetition of running provides a mental release," Michaelis said. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) recommends jogging for 30 minutes three to five times a week. Not a runner? Repetitive movements such as swimming or cycling can also help ease anxiety symptoms.
Dancing is an active pastime and an opportunity to socialize. One study found that even small interactions with acquaintances can bring happiness. "I love dancing because it's focused on fun," Mr. Graham said. Whether you're going to a Zumba class or dancing salsa with friends, you're participating in sports and embracing a creative outlet. For many, this leads to anxiety."
You've probably received this advice before: Whether you're panicking or panicking before an important job interview, take a few deep breaths. As it turns out, there's preliminary research to back that up. Researchers recently discovered a small group of neurons in the brain stem of mice that directly transmit breathing function to parts of the brain responsible for relaxation or anxiety.