Last Updated on January 29, 2022 by Scott Charleboix
This post, 5 Irresistibly fun workouts to ease anxiety and panic attacks is a guest post by Krystian from With Love, Me.
Oh, hello! My name is Krystian and I am the Author of With Love, Me. I dedicate my blog to helping you take care of yourself so you can have positive mental health and create a life you love! And I want to thank Scott for allowing me to share my experience with you!
Fun Workouts to ease Anxiety and Panic Attacks
As a fellow person living with anxiety, I am always looking for anxiety relief. anxiety gives you a level of uncomfortable tension that you just want to get rid of. It can disrupt your sleep and cause physical symptoms. And you really don’t want it to affect your daily life. anxiety relief has been a big part of my life since the 90s. -Man, do I feel old now!-
I spent my adult years combating PTSD and anxiety, and there is a way to feel calmer. And you don’t even have to see a doctor for it, but they recommend it!
And you can put away your wallet too, because you can get it for FREE! It’s good old-fashioned exercise. That’s right! Exercise can give you anxiety relief. But why? And how?!
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Symptoms of Anxiety
You have felt the telltale signs of anxiety and panic creeping into your life. That little prickle of hair standing up on your neck or arm. Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? The Mayo Clinic states common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling Nervous, restless, or tense
- Having a Sense of Impending Danger, Panic, or Doom
- Having an increased Heart Rate
- Breathing Rapidly
- Feeling Weak or Tired
- Trouble Concentrating
- Trouble Sleeping
- GI (digestive) Problems
- Having Difficulty Controlling Worry
- Having the Urge to Avoid Things that Trigger anxiety
That’s a pretty tough list. And if you’re like me, you have some anxiety symptoms that are not listed. But here is where it gets good! You can take all these symptoms and make them work FOR YOU, not against you!
Why We Avoid Exercise for Anxiety Relief
So why do we avoid exercising when we are feeling stressed? Let’s explore what happens to the body when you exercise.
- You have an increased heart rate.
- You breathe rapidly.
- You sweat.
- You can feel weak or tired, and possibly sore.
And that is the reason that people who are seeking anxiety relief avoid exercising. They feel the same symptoms they do during a panic attack. Who wants their anxiety relief to be like their panic attacks? I know I don’t!
As we are seeking anxiety relief, it compels us to avoid having anxiety symptoms. It’s called the Fight or Flight response. It is your body’s built-in survival system. And most people do not have an overactive brain at the helm. –Yeah, I can see my brain doing wheelies and donuts in my little fighter jet of the flight or fight system. She’s a little out there.-
So, what is this system for? It is to help you cope and survive threats in the world, but it is a flawed system. It has not had a software update since we were cavemen. -Anyone else feel like our brains are a little like they’re on dial up right now and they’re trying to update to current Windows? UGH!!-
Our flight or fight system is trying to keep us safe, but as we have modernized, we are more stressed and that system can terrorize our brain. If you want to read more about how your brain can hijack your flight or fight system, you can read why it happens here on my blog, With Love, Me.
How Exercise can Ease Anxiety Symptoms
Despite a very picky flight or fight response, your body comes with a built-in pressure release. Let’s see what happens to your body one more time, except this time, we will push through to what happens after you’re done exercising so you can get some anxiety relief.
You encounter your stimulus and you decide to exercise. You start the flight or fight response system.
- Your heart rate increases.
- You breathe rapidly.
- You sweat.
- You can feel weak or tired, and possibly sore.
Instead of quitting, you keep it up. Let’s see what happens.
- Your brain creates those 4 happy hormones you need to relieve anxiety.
- Your heart increases blood flow to your organs and limbs.
- Your lungs expand and you get deeper, faster breaths. More oxygen = calmer feelings.
- You sweat to help cool you down so you feel comfortable. –How nice! They took care of your thermostat.-
- Your brain function improves with all that extra blood flow. You feel more alert and responsive.
You’re done now. How will your body keep you going?
- Your body will crave water. We are essentially house plants with feelings, so we need water to thrive. That water will help filter toxins from your body, rehydrate you, and give you a healthy glow to your skin.
- You will think more clearly. That blood flow doesn’t just go away instantly. You will have some time to think things through, and your anxiety will abate with this brain boost.
- Your brain is giving you calming and happy hormones for pushing through the anxiety symptoms. –Ever had to slam on brakes to avoid a collision and then immediately burst into laughter? That is your brain giving you a burst of hormones to relieve stress.-
- You will relax better, and your sleep will improve that day. The hormones that are released during exercise will help you feel better overall.
Trick your Brain with Fun Workouts for Anxiety Relief
So we’ve discussed what your body goes through when you engage in the fight or flight system. And what benefits will occur from exercising? Now how to we get our stressed brains to accept we’re safe? We trick it!
That’s right, we know that we have a primitive flight or fight system, so we are going to trick it into working for us! How? We’re going to engage in FUN workouts that do not look like traditional exercise. -I dread going to the gym just like anyone else, but these fun workouts are a joy to do.
Fun Workouts for Anxiety Relief and Panic Attacks
There is something about nature that really centers me and helps me clear my head. -I think it’s the lack of a cellular signal, but maybe that’s just me!- Nature is pure. I move among the trees, listening to birds and watching small animals scurry and gather food.
My favorite hiking activity is to take my very active service pup, Koda the Husky mix, and his adopted sisters with me. We explore the trails, and I get to see them take a break and use those cute little noses for something other than sniffing dog booties.
They get to hop, play, and be dogs! Watching them enjoy our endless walk gives me such joy that I forget I am actually using my body to exercise and get anxiety relief. Who doesn’t want to just watch their beloved family pet have the time of his life?
Bonus: You will have toned legs and booty from all the miles you walk! And the fresh air is great for your lungs!
Check out your local trails on AllTrails.com.
Swimming & Water Sports
–I know, you’re thinking about laps in a pool. Well, GOTCHA! That’s not what I am thinking at all!-
Do you remember when you were a child, and your mom would take you to a pool? And on the way home, you couldn’t keep your eyes open. You were so happy and so calm that sleep just overcame you. If you’re like me, you don’t remember how you made it to your bed that night.
You can do that now too! Summer is a great time for the family to go to the water park. Remember, having to climb all those stairs to get to the top of the tallest slide? You couldn’t wait to get to the top. That is several floors’ worth of stairs!
You can also wave jump in a wave pool. You will get resistance trying to jump in water. –Remember trying to make a whirlpool in a backyard pool?- Bonus: You’ll have a great family fun day!
Water parks not your thing? Head to your favorite beach for some boogey boarding or surfing! It’s fun and great exercise. Bonus: You’ll learn balance and get a strong core!
Here are a few more water sports if these aren’t your thing.
- Water Skiing
- Scuba Diving: Get inspired with National Geographic’s 100 Best Dives
- Water Polo
For more water sports, read this article by Surfer Today.
Dancing is my all-time favorite pastime, and it is great anxiety relief. There is nothing more precious to me than dancing to my favorite love songs in the kitchen with my husband, while my food simmers to perfection. Or jamming out to my favorite rock songs while I clean. -Doesn’t a boring job just get better when you dance it out to music while you work?-
Need a fun group activity? Go out dancing! You get to enjoy music, live or DJ, and bond with your group.
Or go it alone and listen to your favorite songs on Amazon Music Unlimited. Sign up to get a free trial! I love being able to have any song right at my fingertips!
Do you want to learn a new skill, goof off at home, or even enter a competition? Here is a list of fun dance styles for you to try! Bonus: if your partner has been asking for some quality time together, this is the fun activity for you!!
- Hip Hop
- Line dancing
Get out of the gym, and hit the open road! -Pathways and trails are okay too.– Biking is not only GREAT anxiety relief, but is a fantastic way to lose weight, improve your heart health, and have an adventure too!
Biking helped me lose 100 pounds!!! And I had fun while doing it!! I didn’t even mind that I was biking 20 miles a few times a week. Because on my way, I got to eat a cheeseburger! –Yeah, that’s right! I was biking so much that I could enjoy my favorite foods without all the guilt!-
Plus, I found some really amazing scenic spots on my journey! My brother and I found this really great lake with geese that really loved to be petted. Oh, and there were OTTERS!! Yeah, we got to feed wild otters!
You can bike around your city and see local stores and sites. Enjoy your commute and save money by biking to work instead. Take your hike to the next level and bike the trails!
Biking also takes relatively little skill. And you can even have small children enjoy the ride with this biking cart. It hooks up right to your bike and doubles as a stroller, or even a shopping cart!
I had the best time playing sports with my friends and family. My local church had teams for volleyball, basketball, and softball. We laughed and competed against other churches and we really bonded. Those friendships are my oldest and dearest.
My favorite memory of my grandmother is when she played badminton with me. We had such a good time. And we both slept so well that night. Get out and play with your kids and grandkids and introduce them to your favorite sports!
You can find sports all around you.
- Community Centers
- Rec Centers
- Ask your friends!
- Check if your company has a team.
- Join a bowling league.
- Search Meet-Up!
Exercising doesn’t have to be boring. I hope you enjoyed these fun activities for stress relief. If you’re looking for some hobbies that also combat stress relief, you can check out my hobbies!
“With Love, Me” is a lifestyle blog focused on promoting positive mental health, self care, and living your best life everyday! Do you want to be inspired to create calm and productivity in your life, make personal development a priority, have fun and fulfilling hobbies, make time for yourself, hack your mental health care, create a relaxing home, and live a life you love?
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