9 Facts That Exercise Helps Reduce Depression and Anxiety

It’s a disheartening fact that an estimated twenty per cent of Australians will suffer from depression and anxiety at some stage of their lives. With a population of approximately twenty-five million that’s around five million people. Although there’s often a belief that the two conditions are the same there are distinct differences between them but exercise can be a remedy for both.

1. Sense of Purpose

Depression includes an inescapable feeling of despair and hopelessness. Sufferers perceive ordinary daily issues as insurmountable obstacles and have difficulty maintaining personal relationships leading to isolation and loneliness. Exercise instils a sense of purpose as you reach for targets while improving your fitness levels, counteracting low self-esteem and boosting your energy levels.

2. Calming Influence

Anxiety is a sustained form of fear and apprehension which eventually infiltrates even the most pleasurable aspects of life. Panic attacks occur for no apparent reason and prevent people from leaving their homes.

Dealing with anxiety through an exercise has a calming effect as it channels surplus nervous energy into a positive force. Exercise relieves tension in both your muscles and nervous system.

3. Natural Medicine

Treatment for anxiety and depression usually involves lengthy bouts of medication with anti-depressants or tranquillizers. These are actually highly addictive and it can be difficult to stop taking them. But using exercise as alternative medicine has been scientifically proven to be far more effective and it won’t harm the natural balance of your system.

It’s a well-known fact that exercise and mental health combined bring positive results. Around 150 minutes each week enjoying an activity such as swimming, walking, jogging or yoga is an exercise for depression and anxiety.

The physical activity prompts your metabolism to increase in speed gradually releasing into your brain chemicals known as endorphins. These have a calming influence and produce a feeling of optimism. Concentrating on exercise transports your mind beyond the confines set by anxiety and depression and brings numerous long-term benefits.

4. Relaxation

Your mind needs exercising as much as your body when you’re dealing with depression. Practising a relaxation technique such as mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus only on the present while blocking out unwanted thoughts.

It’s an effective strategy that you can use at any time and prepares you to find the motivation for physical exercise. Even simple stretching exercises are a good starting point before building up to walking short distances. Practised daily you’ll soon notice how relaxed you feel whenever you’re active.

5. Confidence

It’s estimated that 160,000 young Australians aged between sixteen and twenty-four are suffering from anxiety and depression. Fear of failure, perhaps in gaining qualifications, is often blamed resulting in a chronic lack of confidence and motivation.

Enrolling in a wilderness therapy course in the natural landscape of the Outback combines exercise with self-improvement skills and you’ll quickly gain confidence. Team effort is encouraged as sufferers of anxiety and depression join forces to overcome panic attacks. There’s a great deal of fun to be had while you’re trying to build shelters, light fires with sticks and learn bushcraft survival skills.

6. Responsibility and Companionship

Acquiring a pet is a recognised method of dealing with depression. Therapy dogs, in particular, are recognised for the value they add to the lives of those suffering from depression and anxiety. They provide companionship and also help their owners to have a purpose as the dogs need to be fed and cared for.

In return, they provide the motivation for taking regular exercise by going on daily walks and with their instantly recognisable yellow coats with a blue trim they are allowed access to shops, public areas and transport reducing the feeling of isolation and loneliness.

7. Feeling Good

It’s a scientific fact that sunshine encourages the production of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. It encourages a clear feeling of well-being and relaxation, a feel-good factor. Getting outside to enjoy the sunshine while admiring the beautiful scenery is an important part of dealing with anxiety and depression.

Exercise in any form from walking or practising Tai Chi to surfing or playing tennis is a perfect way to harness the effects of serotonin and when combined with the endorphins that are produced by the activity you can understand how exercise helps depression and anxiety.

8. Looking Good

Sufferers of anxiety and depression often comfort eat and make their problems worse by piling on weight through a poor diet that’s lacking in vitamins and nutrients. The vitamin B complexes are particularly beneficial to the body’s nervous system so eating foods such as broccoli and green leafy vegetables will help.

Combined with exercise for depression and anxiety eating a nourishing diet and reaching an ideal weight can help enormously. And looking good will boost your confidence and self-esteem while improving your physical health.

9. Fun and Laughter

Laughter is one of nature’s best medicines for dealing with anxiety and depression. Attending one of Australia’s many boot camps is one way to enjoy exercise and have some fun at the same time. There’s a fantastic choice of exercises on offer including Zumba dance that’s not only sociable but great fun.

Connecting with other people and making new friends is beneficial as you exercise for depression and anxiety. While at boot camp you also get personal tuition from an experienced physical training instructor who makes sure your exercise programme is suitable for your age. With their encouragement, you’ll find it easier to reach targets while exercising and enjoying yourself.



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books–written by men–barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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