By: Ryan Rivera
Anxiety and physical fitness are linked in a host of ways. It’s well known that those that are more active tend to experience less anxiety, and those that feel good about their health and wellness often feel a greater degree of confidence when faced with other stressful life situations.
Part of ensuring that you don’t experience too much anxiety is avoiding some common fitness mistakes. Anxiety is the type of condition that requires good decision making and smart exercise, and so avoiding fitness mistakes should be your priority when you are trying to cope with anxiety symptoms.
Examples of Anxiety Fitness Mistakes
- Avoiding Fitness
Of course, the most common mistake is avoiding fitness altogether. Exercise releases endorphins which regulate mood, burns up cortisol (stress hormone) that cause most negative anxiety reactions, and reduces muscle energy which can lead to anxiety as a result of the mind/body connection.
Fitness isn’t just important for your physical health. It has a serious effect on your mental health, and it’s something that needs to always continue if you want to keep your anxiety at bay.
- Improper Hydration
Some experts have theorized that one of the main reasons anxiety levels have increased over the past several decades is because more and more people are improperly hydrated. Dehydration leads to a host of physiological responses, and one is a type of tension and anxiety that can lead to further issues managing stress.
Hydration is a key problem during exercise. Keep hydrated, and your body will respond to stress better – both during exercise and with regards to your mental health.
- Poor Breathing
Similarly, poor breathing techniques during exercise can lead to issues with hyperventilation, which can also cause problems with anxiety. Hyperventilation is actually an often forgotten cause of panic attacks. When you breathe poorly during exercise, your heart rate increases dramatically and you start to experience other physical symptoms like chest pain and lightheadedness. In some cases you can actually pass out.
When you have some anxiety or a problem with panic attacks, this hyperventilation can have long lasting problems. Not only can it trigger a panic attack during your exercise – it can also make you more nervous about your physiological responses, leading to future panic attacks both during and not during fitness activities.
- Injury Response
Injury is an unfortunate risk when you are going after your fitness goals. How you respond to the injury can cause anxiety. If you immediately think the worst, and avoid seeking out professional help for your injury, it’s not uncommon to find that you start to experience more anxiety over your ability to stay healthy and remain fit. If you take things slow, make sure you’re doing all exercises correctly, and wait until you heal to avoid re-injury, then you are less likely to experience any significant anxiety.
- Failure to Execute an Exercise Diet
Diet plays a significant role in anxiety and fitness. But for those that exercise often, it can be even more of an issue. Like with hydration, exercise can use up a lot of important nutrients in your body. These nutrients are crucial for regulating your mental health.
For example, some studies have shown that magnesium levels are depleted after high intensity exercise. Many people barely get enough magnesium in their diet as is, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to anxiety and depression. Ensuring proper nutrition, like with magnesium, is important for preventing anxiety.
Fitness and Anxiety
Overall, fitness is actually one of the most beneficial things you can do for your anxiety. Inactivity is one of the key causes of anxiety in adults, and fitness ensures that your body is working as efficiently as possible. But there are still some exercise and fitness mistakes that can contribute to anxiety issues. Avoiding these mistakes remains important for your mental health.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera used fitness to control his anxiety. He has a website with information on anxiety at www.calmclinic.com.