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Can exercise make anxiety worse?

Mental Health Growth

Exercise can trigger anxiety-like thoughts in the moment of exerting yourself past your comfort levels. However, the act of working out will not make your anxiety worse throughout the other 23 hours of your day. Actually, in time, when doing daily exercise you will help ease your anxiety levels.

Here is Can Exercise Make Anxiety Worse? Honestly, No!

In today’s article, I will help explain the connection between your anxiety and exercising, plus give you a plan to use physical fitness to combat your stress in time.

You need to know that exercising is a valuable tool for your mental health growth. It will help you combat your depression, anxiety, stress, grief and more. Read this if you need help knowing How To Motivate Yourself To Workout When Depressed.

So, if fitness isn’t working with you at this time, it will change as you get more comfortable with your exercising journey. 

Can Exercise Make Anxiety Worse?

Yes, exercise can make your anxiety worse.

However, there are many reasons you feel more anxiety as you are working out, and it is doubtful that the actual act of exercising is affecting you in a negative mental health way. One of these may be the fa t that you are so worried about hiding your anxiety from those you know, that your making your anxiety worse. Learn How To Explain Anxiety To Someone Who Doesn’t Have It.

These are some top reasons why your anxiety may be spiking while exercising.

Social Anxiety

Exercising often takes place in a community setting like a gym, fitness center, group cardio class or running and walking outdoors where others are. Being in these settings, situational anxiety can make your anxiety feel worse, not the actual act of exercising. 

How to combat this: You can find out the pique times at your fitness location and avoid them, going at times when it is less busy. Another way to prevent social anxiety is to do your exercising at home.

Not Hitting Your Fitness Goals

You most likely have a goal or two driving your main focus for exercising. Losing weight, gaining muscle, bettering your cardiovascular endurance, fitting an old pair of pants, or it might be to feel better overall in life. If you are not achieving the outcome in your head fast enough, this can bring anxiety into your workouts.

How to combat this: Break your long-term goals into smaller, more attainable chunks. An example would be to have the objective of losing 10 lbs. To break this goal down, you need to put an end date of 3 months to achieve it. Now that you have a time frame, you can break those three months into 12 weeks. And an achievable small goal would be to lose 1lb a week with two weeks of allowing for setbacks. 

Losing 1 lb a week will allow you to focus better and achieve small wins every seven days, helping build your confidence and combat anxiety.

Read this: How Long Does It Take to Get In Shape: Beginners Guide.

Intense Physical Exertion

When exercising, you need to move past your current fitness levels and onto your long-term goals. This happens by pushing your comfort levels when lifting weights or doing cardio. The place you put your body and mind into when doing the extra rep or running that extra few meters will be painful and trigger anxiety-like thoughts.

How to combat this: The only way to combat this is to learn how to embrace the uncomfortable few seconds. The more you put yourself into your pain threshold, the easier it will become. Also, keep reminding yourself this isn’t your anxiety from daily life. You are in a is self-induced anxiety that you can step out of any time you want by stopping the exercise.

Does exercise Affect Anxiety?

Exercise positively affects anxiety in many ways. One way that exercise affects anxiety is that it produces chemicals in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins are a feel-good chemical that floods your body that can also be called a ‘runners high.’ 

Another way exercising can affect your anxiety is to build up your confidence as you put in weeks to months to years in with your fitness goals. As you start seeing improvements in your fitness goals, that confidence will latch onto other areas of your life outside of fitness.

Why do I Feel Worse After exercise?

There are many reasons why you might feel worse after exercising, while none of them directly link to the physical act of working out, making your anxiety worse.

  • Are you stressed out from something outside the gym, and it’s affecting everything you do?
  • Is your anxiety or depression too great right now, and should you be seeing a therapist instead of exercising?
  • Did you push yourself too hard during your workout and not have enough water or food (energy) beforehand and during?

How to Exercise Without Feeling Anxiety

Ideal options to exercise without feeling anxiety is to start each exercise session with a plan, like knowing How Many Exercises Per Workout are needed.

Having a routine to follow will ensure that you do not push yourself too hard and set a comfortable pace that you know you can keep up. Your plan should be created the night before, including where you will exercise and the best time to workout for you and the busyness of the gym.

What Type of Exercise is Best for Anxiety?

The best exercise for anxiety is going for a walk. By choosing to go for a walk, you give yourself the least amount of obstacles to achieve completion. Walking can create endorphins, plus fresh air can help your mental health. You also do not need any specific equipment for it. 

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