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APR 23, 2024

Tackling Anxiety with Exercise: A Practical Guide

Anxiety is on the rise but we have the step-by-step solution to help combat the symptoms of stress and anxiety for a healthier, happier outlook.

Read time: 3 minutes

In recent years, the discussion around mental health has expanded, shedding light on issues that many face silently, notably anxiety. See, an increasing number of people report feeling more anxious than ever before. And if you’re one of them, you’ll want to keep reading.

The reasons? Well, they can range from personal life stressors and work pressures to the wider implications of social media and global uncertainties. And as our lives become increasingly interconnected and exposed to various stress-inducing triggers, finding effective ways to manage anxiety needs to take priority. Thankfully, we have a strong suggestion.

The Soothing Power of Exercise on Anxiety

Exercise does more than just improve physical fitness, it's also a powerful antidote to anxiety. This is because engaging in physical activity releases endorphins - which are chemicals in your brain that act as natural painkillers. On top of that, exercise also facilitates a reduction of your body's stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol.

Which means regular physical activity can lift your mood, increase energy levels, and help you gain a sense of control – all of which are vital in managing anxiety.

Exercise provides a structured outlet for frustrations and offers a significant distraction from anxious thoughts.

Practical Exercise Routine to Combat Anxiety

Brisk Walking or Jogging

Begin with a 5-minute gentle warm-up of walking at a slow pace. Gradually increase your speed until you're walking briskly or begin to jog at a comfortable pace. Aim for at least 30 minutes, and cool down with a 5-minute slow walk.

Why It Helps

Walking elevates your heart rate and can help burn off the energy generated by stress and anxiety.


Start with basic poses like the Child's Pose, Warrior, or Tree Pose. Hold each pose for several breaths. Yoga classes or online tutorials can guide you through sequences.

Why It Helps

Yoga emphasizes breathing, calmness, and mental focus, which can alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms.

Resistance Training

Use free weights, resistance bands, or body weight for exercises like squats, push-ups, or lunges. Aim for 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise.

Why It Helps

Strength training can boost mood and increase confidence levels, reducing feelings of anxiety.


Start with a comfortable pace on relatively flat terrain. Gradually increase the duration and intensity. Consider both stationary and outdoor cycling.

Why It Helps

Cycling helps clear the mind and reduces the level of stress hormones.


Begin with 10-20 minutes of continuous swimming using strokes you are comfortable with. Gradually increase the duration as your confidence and stamina build.

Why It Helps

The rhythmic strokes and soothing qualities of swimming can be particularly meditative and calming.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is all about performing slow, focused movements accompanied by deep breathing. For beginners there are various video tutorials but it might be better to sign up for a class to get the best results.

Why It Helps

Known as meditation in motion, Tai Chi can help manage stress and anxiety with its gentle, flowing movements.

A Balanced Approach to Anxiety

While exercise is a powerful tool in taking on anxiety, it’s important to remember that it’s not a cure- all. Anxiety can stem from a variety of sources, some of which may require medical intervention or therapy to fully address. Which is why it’s so important to listen to both your body and your mind, and seek professional help if your anxiety becomes overwhelming or persistent.

That said, exercise offers a viable and effective method to help manage mild to moderate anxiety. And by incorporating regular physical activity into your routine, you can nurture a sense of wellbeing, improve your physical health, and take proactive steps toward managing anxiety.

Remember, taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body. If you find that exercise isn't enough to keep your anxiety in check, don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

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