Does Exercise help Anxiety? Here’s my Experience.

Does Exercise help Anxiety? Here's my Experience.

Does exercise help anxiety? It’s helped me but remember I’m not a professional so if you are struggling please contact a professional.

How my anxiety started.

About three years ago I had my first anxiety attack. I had no idea what it was, I was on the train heading home from an evening of enjoying art at the MoMA and I started to feel hot so I took my coat off, my heart was racing my breath short and everything around me got dark. I felt faint and did something I never did before, asked the person sitting in front of me if I could sit because I felt sick. I remember feeling as if there was no air in the train car and I couldn’t wait until the doors opened again to get out. I didn’t know what it was but when it started happening more frequently after my husband and I got stuck on an elevator I realized that it was anxiety.


I’ll be brave enough to say that I’ve been dealing with much more stress than I’d like to in my thirties. I have so much to be thankful for but like everyone else, I have things that are out of my control. I started seeing a therapist shortly after my first anxiety attack and she gave me tools to help me through them but sometimes those tools just weren’t enough.

My worst anxiety attack and the turning point.

A few months ago while my husband was out of town, I went to my kids’ school to bring them lunch and as I drove up, I noticed emergency vehicles all around the school. I had one of the worst anxiety attacks that day. With all of the bad news, we are inundated with daily, it’s a sight that triggered my worst fears (thankfully, they had gone to the building next door for a ceremony). That was when I determined that I needed to do better.

Does Exercise help Anxiety? Here's my Experience.

Exercise reduced my anxiety.

I started exercising when the weather warmed up in the spring, at first it was sporadic but when I started to feel better less stress and anxiety especially as my workouts intensified I started to make it a regular part of my routine. By the end of the summer, I started to notice a difference in my overall wellbeing. My stress level and triggers haven’t changed but my body’s physical response to it did.

Intense workouts helped my anxiety better.

Stress literally feels like carrying around a few extra pounds for me. I can feel it, it’s hard to explain but working out especially intensely helps reduce that feeling. I think that the more intense my workout is, the more I have to focus on it and that really helps me to focus on and be present.

Does Exercise help Anxiety? Here's my Experience.

Working out in the morning before anxiety sets in helps me.

I do think that whenever I workout before I do anything else in the morning it’s better for me because I don’t get the chance to get anxious about anything. When I can’t start my day with exercise it’s sometimes hard to get rid of the feeling or when anxiety sets in, it sucks my physical energy and I can’t even get to the gym or outdoors.

Do you struggle with anxiety too? Have you tried using exercise as a tool to help your anxiety?


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