How Exercise Combats Anxiety
Everybody feels stress and anxiety at some point in their life. When feelings of anxiety deepen and persist to the point that they are impacting a person’s wellbeing, it is time to seek solutions. Physical activity is a natural treatment for anxiety and is highly effective in reducing the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders.
In general, anxiety is characterized by excessive feelings of worry and fear. It manifests differently in individuals and depends on a combination of factors including genetics, brain chemistry, environment, physical activity, diet, drug use and medical history.
There are a group of mental disorders that surround anxiety, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Phobic disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Situational anxiety
A person may experience emotions that range in intensity from nervousness to an anxiety or panic attack. Left untreated, anxiety can lead to a number of other mental and behavioral issues such as depression.
The general symptoms associated with anxiety disorders include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle tension
The negative impacts of suffering from an anxiety disorder extend to an individual’s personality and ability to carry out daily life. They may avoid activities or group situations they once took pleasure in and may become anti-social. Persistent anxiety may result in undesirable changes in a person’s perception of life and they may appear to be constantly “on edge.”
Physical exercise works to alleviate anxiety.
Regular physical activity is a simple and highly successful way to manage and cope with anxiety. Exercise produces endorphins—natural brain chemicals—that work to inhibit the perception of pain and stress, treating anxiety by improving or eliminating the symptoms associated with it. Endorphins increase feelings of euphoria, thus reducing the irritability that comes with anxiety.
- Reduces fatigue
- Improves alertness and concentration
- Enhance cognitive functioning
- Elevates and regulates mood
- Decreases muscle tension
A comprehensive treatment plan for anxiety is one that includes physical activity in conjunction with traditional therapy.
A treatment program, such as wilderness therapy, that combines physical activity and holistic nutrition with additional treatment methods is the most successful way to treat anxiety. Overcoming the trials of different physical tasks experienced during a wilderness therapy program is empowering and creates an opportunity for an individual who suffers from anxiety to build the self-confidence and self-reliance needed to manage their condition. Exercise is a healthy, natural way to manage and cope with anxiety and stress related disorders, and can take the place of medication in many instances.
At Rites of Passage Wilderness, we provide a large assortment of wilderness therapy programs which include physical activity and as such, are considered to be a natural treatment for anxiety. Call us at (800)794-0980 to learn more about our programs and to register.