Depression and Anxiety Exercises: Workouts That Improve Your Mental State

anxiety exercises

Globally, depression affects as many as 300 million people. That harsh reality means that depression is among the most common mental illnesses people experience.

When suffering from depression and/or anxiety, victims find themselves unable to live their fullest lives. They lose interest in the things that matter to them, skip important life events and fall into destructive patterns.

Fortunately, there are ways people can overcome bouts of anxiety and depression. One of the most natural and effective ways is through exercise.

Below are a few of the best depression and anxiety exercises worth exploring.

1. Running

Running is a go-to for depression and anxiety and is consequently, frequently suggested by doctors. When done with regularity, running has been shown to increase people’s moods through the production of the hormones serotonin and dopamine.

Beyond that, running allows people space to clear their minds through long periods of repetitive movement. This repetitive movement allows depression and anxiety sufferers to dull their senses externally. Instead, they can focus internally and begin mending the thoughts they’re struggling with.

2. Yoga

Yoga is a practice that has a deep basis in stretching and breathing. Both stretching and concentration on one’s breath can be an excellent tool in battling depression and anxiety. Because of that, yoga is one of the premiere depression and anxiety exercises.

To get started with yoga, consider working with a professional as some of the postures can challenge participant’s bodies in new ways. Under professional supervision, yoga performers reduce the risk of straining themselves. They also increase the likelihood of reaping mental health benefits.

3. Swimming

Swimming is an excellent means of reducing depression and anxiety and is also one of the more low-impact anxiety exercises on this list. Swimming is “low-impact” because participant’s joints don’t come into harsh contact with hard surfaces. Harsh contact with hard surfaces and resulting discomfort are some of the reasons why many people can’t pursue running as a regular activity.

When swimming, bodies enjoy being worked via mild water resistance. That means all of the internal benefits of strenuous exercise with none of the possible pains.

4. Dancing

Dancing is one of the most expressive depression and anxiety exercises recommended by health professionals. It offers tremendous physical and mental benefits in its combating depression and its related symptoms.

There are two core reasons why dance is so popular among depression and anxiety exercise enthusiasts.

To start, getting physically active is inherent in dance. That physicality carries with it happiness hormone-producing benefits. Second, dance is accompanied by music. Music has been proven in its ability to significantly elevate moods.

5. Weightlifting

Weightlifting is a high impact exercise choice. If a person is medically cleared to try it, this activity can offer deep challenge and satisfaction.

When lifting weights, participants have the opportunity to focus on beating their previous bests by transitioning to heavier sets. The goal-oriented nature of this activity is helpful in redirecting depression and anxiety sufferer’s attention towards more constructive thoughts.

Additionally, weight lifting has a tremendous community around it. Because of that, by getting involved at a local gym, weightlifters open themselves up to meeting new friends. This can also help improve their mood.

6. Walking

Not all anxiety exercises need to be about pushing one’s body to the limit. Simply partaking in a relaxing activity that passively challenges bodies is just as efficient.

Walking gives participant’s physical bodies a rest but puts pressure on their minds. That means time to sit with one’s thoughts which can help manage self-destructive thinking patterns.

Walking also gives people ample time to set goals which can help steer their lives towards more positive paths.

7. Cycling

If a person owns a bike, taking it out on trails or even biking in urban areas that have safe, bike-friendly roadways can be a great way to help overcome depression and anxiety.

Biking allows people to shift focus from destructive thoughts. Instead, it centers minds around safely navigating at high speeds through courses.

Biking is excellent for cardiovascular purposes. It also has the added benefit of getting people from point A to point B quickly!

8. Hiking

Hiking, much like walking, is one of the anxiety exercises that’s less about physicality and more about removing one’s self from their negative environment. Now, depending on the trail that’s chosen, hiking can be a strenuous activity.

Still, most trails allow hikers the opportunity to concur them at their own pace. They also surround hikers with wonderful natural beauty while doing so.

When choosing to take on hiking as a means to manage depression and anxiety, remember, this exercise is more about the journey than the destination.

Be sure to take the time to appreciate surroundings. Focus on breath. Reap the benefits this great anxiety and depression crushing exercise has to offer!

Wrapping Up Depression and Anxiety Exercises

Depression and anxiety can cripple lives. For many, taking medications to help manage their feelings can increase struggles due to harmful side effects.

For a natural alternative to managing feelings of helplessness and uneasiness, it’s recommended to try pursuing exercise.

Any of the activities above can provide people with powerful tools that help overcome negative feelings. Interested readers should try a handful of the depression and anxiety exercises shared here to see which fit their needs!

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