Can exercise help with anxiety?


Exercise can indeed help with managing anxiety. Here are some key points from trusted experts on this topic:

  1. Normalization of Stress Response: Exercise helps downregulate receptors dealing with cortisol and insulin, leading to less pronounced sugar spikes. This normalization contributes to better handling of stress reactions and quicker recovery to baseline after stress, which can be beneficial for individuals with anxiety 1.

  2. Completion of the Stress Cycle: Through exercise, the body uses chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline that are released during anxiety, which helps in completing the stress cycle. This utilization reduces the accumulation of these chemicals, potentially leading to decreased feelings of anxiety 2.

  3. Chemical Alteration Similar to Medication: Exercise has been shown to affect brain and body chemistry in ways similar to anti-anxiety medications. It can lower reactivity in the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, leading to reduced physical effects of anxiety and improved mood 3.

    Exercise and Anxiety

    Tim discusses the potential benefits of exercise on anxiety, including its ability to normalize stress response and regulate blood sugar levels. He also explains how exercise can downregulate receptors that deal with cortisol and insulin, leading to less pronounced sugar spikes.

    Modern Wisdom

    The Crippling World Of Men’s Anxiety - Tim Clare | Modern Wisdom Podcast 475
  4. Long-term Benefits and Tolerance: Consistent exercise shows effects on anxiety that are not only similar to medications in the short term, but can also exceed those effects in the long term without the risk of tolerance, which is often seen with medication 4.

  5. Physical and Mental Discomfort Management: Engaging in regular exercise can change one's relationship to physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat and sweating, by associating these symptoms with the positive aspects of exercise rather than with anxiety 5.

These insights illuminate how exercise can be a valuable part of managing anxiety, providing both immediate relief and longer-term benefits.