How You Can Use Exercise as a Tool to Fight Anxiety

We’re all guilty of doing things that make us anxious, and when you’re suffering from anxiety, getting some exercise is likely the last thing on your mind. However, finding the time to work up a sweat can really help when it comes to fighting those feelings of anxiety.  

Exercising releases serotonin, endorphins and dopamine, which are all natural happy brain chemicals that contribute to your peace of mind and overall sense of well being.

Of course combining exercise with some fitness meal prep that consists of eating healthy, nutritionally rich meals, will work wonders for improving your mood. We wanted to go through how exactly you can use exercise as a tool to help your head, so that you can workout, eat healthily, and fight anxiety…

Tailor how you exercise to your temperament

You need to find what works for you in terms of exercising. You might find that you need to head into the gym to really get in the zone, or you might prefer exercises that relieve stress and anxiety without the gym.

Some people prefer the social aspects of attending an exercise class or going for a run in a group, while others might prefer to workout on their own. Whatever you do, don’t hesitate to look around and assess the variety of activities that you can do.

Consider both high and low intensity workouts

Just like you would try different healthy foods as part of an overall fitness meal prep plan, you’ll also want to vary the intensity of you workouts too, as there’s strong arguments for how both types of workout can help alleviate anxious thoughts.

You’ll find that taking part in a high octane spinning class will certainly get the blood pumping, while clearing your mind at the same time. But you’ll also find that less intensive workouts can be just as mood boosting too. Exercises such as Pilates and yoga work well when it comes to calming the mind.

Take things one step and a time

When you first start developing a regular exercise routine to fight anxiety, it’s important to remember that baby steps are best. Whatever you do, don’t go hurtling head first into a high intensity interval training (HHIT) regime, as this might not be the best way for you to achieve sustainable success.

Although HIIT is helpful for your physical and mental health, if you start going too intense too soon, then you’ll run the risk of fatigue or injury. It’s essential that you set yourself small goals first, instead of punishing yourself unnecessarily for not reaching overly ambitious initial goals. Avoid the flawed formula of doing too much at the start, move forward at a steady pace, and you’ll soon be reaping the mental and physical rewards.

Don’t force yourself, adapt instead

You may find that at certain points you’ll essentially have to become your own personal trainer, as it’s inevitable that a bad day will come along, when you’re not feeling at your best. When these days arrive and you just feel too anxious to exercise, don’t fall into the habit of avoiding your workout altogether.

Adapt what you had planned instead of forcing yourself to meet your usual target. For example if you planned on going for a run, but you’re feeling a little too anxious, then break it down into a manageable goal for the day and do a short jog or walk instead.

Food can be your fitness friend

Exercise won’t work nearly as well to quash those anxious thoughts, without a healthy balanced diet to go along with it. Nutrition can really help your nerves, and eating regularly prepared meals as part of a fitness meal prep plan is highly recommended.

Steer clear of the temptation to skip meals and glug down a coffee or two, as consuming too much caffeine is a sure way to set your nerves on edge. Not to say you can’t have treats because you can, but as a general rule, stick to good quality protein, lots of fruit and veg and other good quality carbs.

A balanced lifestyle of good food and exercise will create the balance your brain needs to better fight anxiety. With Prep Perfect we can deliver tailored and delicious meals to you when you need them, to fit with your schedule.