Can exercise help with anxiety?

Mental health is an issue that affects many Australians, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common when we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular cause. It’s a serious condition that can make it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled.

Regular exercise can be an effective way to relieve mild to moderate anxiety and is often a neglected strategy in anxiety management. Many studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to those who do not exercise regularly

Regular exercise can help ease anxiety in a number of ways including:can exercise help with anxiety?

  • Releasing brain chemicals to improve mood
  • Increasing body temperature which may have calming effects
  • Increasing confidence and self esteem
  • Distraction from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety.
  • Increase social interaction and decrease loneliness
  • Healthy coping strategy

Regular exercise can be an effective treatment by itself or alongside other treatments like medication or psychological therapies, depending on the type and severity of anxiety.

Exercise does not need to be extremely vigorous to be helpful – just a brisk walk can be beneficial. Both aerobic exercise and strength training have been found to be helpful in treating anxiety and depression. For people who are very inactive, health benefits can be gained by becoming slightly more active. A little activity is better than none at all, and more is better than a little.

can exercise help with anxiety?


In addition to being helpful for managing anxiety, regular exercise has numerous physical health benefits including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased bone density
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased energy
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Increased endurance/ stamina

If the thought of working out in a gym increases your anxiety, you might benefit from working with a Fitness Enhancement mobile Personal Trainer. We can come to you in the comfort and privacy of your own home, or in one of our 100% private Training Studios.