We all know that exercise releases “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. These blissful little guys can leave you feeling happy and peaceful for hours after the exercise. New research shows that the benefits of exercise go further than making us healthier and happier. Exercise can help you fight off feelings of anxiety and depression.
Jasper Smits, one of the researchers and director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, explains, “Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger. Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing.”
As author Steve Pavilanis, A Life Less Anxious, points out, exercise can also help you develop more self-confidence. “Once you’ve established a regular routine you’ll feel stronger and more relaxed both mentally and physically. The fact that you’ll look good at the beach this summer is just the icing on the cake!”
So what are you waiting for? Get outside (or in an wide open room) and get moving. You’ll love how it makes you feel.