Easing chronic anxiety with exercise

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Diverting the symptoms of anxiety can be accomplished with exercise. For many, chronic anxiety is a debilitating disorder that significantly affects their everyday life. 

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million Americans each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. They’re also the most common form of mental illness in the United States.  

Though exercise can help soothe symptoms of anxiety, those suffering from chronic anxiety should reach out to their personal physician to discuss options. 

“On its own, exercise may not completely solve your anxiety issues,” said Tim Eckard, co-owner and clinic director at Kinetix Advanced Physical Therapy. “When possible, though, studies show that regular exercise should be part of any natural, long-term treatment for anxiety.” 

Exercise can also prevent other health-related complications as a result of anxiety. 

The effects of anxiety go past psychological and tend to eventually affect an individual’s physical health. 

“High stress and anxiety have been linked to higher blood pressure and a greater risk of heart disease and stroke,” said Eckard. “Also, those who have high levels of anxiety tend to be more sedentary and avoid challenging situations, which can also have long-term health consequences.” 

Individuals can work alongside physical therapists and trainers to find the best exercise routine that aligns with their lifestyle. 

“It depends on what someone responds best to,” said Colleen Adam, physical therapist at Henry Mayo Fitness and Health. “Some people benefit from yoga while others would benefit more from a high-intensity workout. Activities that trigger an increased heart rate are always good because they produce anti-anxiety chemicals.” 

At Henry Mayo Fitness and Health, someone experiencing anxiety can be referred to the gym to work alongside trainers at the facility. 

“Our trainers would get their body moving,” said Adam. “Moving your body reduces muscle tension and lowers your body’s contribution to anxiety.”

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