How Working Out Helps With Anxiety and Depression

Working out is difficult, and it can even feel impossible for those living with depression, anxiety, or stress. While it may be challenging to motivate yourself to go for a jog when depressed, it may be a good first step toward feeling better. What if we told you that working out might be the solution to some of your problems? If you wish to know how working out helps with anxiety and depression, keep reading.

How Can Exercise Aid In The Treatment Of Depression And Anxiety?

Exercise can help with depression and anxiety in two ways. Both directly and indirectly. Exercise directly helps with depression by releasing chemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals are released whenever you engage in a physically demanding activity. Endorphins make you feel good by increasing your sense of well-being. Exercise also helps by distracting you from the issues that are bothering you. You can bet that whether you’re running, lifting weights, or doing another type of exercise, you won’t be thinking about anything else but that.

A woman jogging in a park.

Working out helps with anxiety and depression by releasing feel-good chemicals known as endorphins.

In addition, exercise allows you to enjoy the satisfaction of watching your body change. There is no better feeling than seeing your weight on the scale decrease week after week or your ability to lift more weight in the gym increase from training session to training session. These small victories will provide you with the emotional boost you need to feel better about yourself. Furthermore, if you choose to participate in a team sport or join a fitness community, you will be surrounded by a large number of people who will cheer you on every step of the way. There aren’t many things that can help with depression and anxiety to that extent.

Consult A Physician

Needless to say, before beginning a new workout regimen, consult with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for you. This is good to determine which sport, how much of it, and what degree of intensity are appropriate in your case. Your doctor will ask you about the supplements you might be taking and your medical history. He may also offer suggestions on how to start your fitness journey. If you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations but still feel depressed or anxious, it’s time to see a mental health professional. Exercise is an excellent strategy to alleviate symptoms of sadness and anxiety, but they are not a substitute for professional mental health care.

A doctor's crossed arms.

A doctor can perform a thorough examination to determine how fit you are to exercise.

How Much Is Enough?

Depending on what kind of shape you are in, this will depend. If you haven’t trained before, or if you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle for an extended period of time, you may want to start slow. This is because you need to ramp up your metabolism slowly. If you have low testosterone, that may also make it more difficult initially, even though there are supplements that can help with that. In this case, you should aim to train for 30 minutes of walking at a brisk pace a day, twice a week. With that said, you should try to increase the amount of training you do every week. The recommended maximum you should aim for should be 30 minutes or more five days a week, or 150 minutes a week.

However, depending on your training intensity, the amount of exercise will vary. Shorter, more intense bouts of physical activity, such as 10 minutes of sprinting at a time, may also have an effect. More strenuous exercise, such as running or biking, may take less time to improve your mood. The mental health benefits of exercise and physical activity may only last as long as you stick with it, which is another reason to prioritize doing things you enjoy.

Don’t overdo it

We must, however, mention the opposing side to everything we’ve said. If you exercise too hard and without any rest, you might just worsen your anxiety and depression. Exercise is beneficial, but too much of a good thing can be detrimental. We have to mention this because some people may become enamored with the results they begin to see, leading them to do more. On the other hand, doing more can lead to overtraining and burnout. Overtraining has been proven to increase stress, and stress can negatively affect all your efforts. It might cause you to gain weight, no matter how hard you train. As a result, you should try to get a healthy amount of exercise while also taking the time to rest.

How To Stay Consistent

Most people lack the motivation to stay consistent, and we don’t blame them. It is impossible to stay motivated forever. That is why you need to start relying on discipline instead of motivation. If you can go out and do the necessary work even when you don’t want to, that is discipline. The easiest way to accomplish this is to know what you’re doing and have a training program. You don’t need to hire a personal trainer or pay a lot of money to get a training program. You can find free training programs online and go with those. The goal is simply to have a reference point, something you can use to track your progress, something to look to other than motivation. If you do this, you won’t have a problem with consistency.

A man stands in front of a dumbbell rack, holding a dumbbell.

The most important thing you can do for your fitness and well-being is to be consistent in your efforts.

Conclusion

Yes, working out helps with anxiety and depression. But that doesn’t mean that you should only work out if you’re dealing with these feelings. Working out helps with anxiety because it improves your overall mood and quality of life. It is not just a form of treatment but a form of prevention. With that said, we hope you’ve gained something valuable from everything we’ve discussed today.