Women and Anxiety: How Exercise and Participating in Sports Can Help you Reduce It

With many women’s lives today put under so much stress trying to take care of their family as well as keeping up with job responsibilities, it’s no wonder so many of us feel anxious. Anxiety can be debilitating, especially for those of us who have genetic tendency to be more anxiety-ridden than others.

Too much anxiety can even make you physically sick, and suffering from it on a long term basis can often lead to heart disease and cancer. While both men and women can have anxiety orders, it’s long been recognized that women have higher incidences of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other anxiety disorders.

Although synthetic medications can ease symptoms, the best way to reduce anxiety is through natural treatments, in my opinion. If you already exercise you probably know that it’s one of the best ways to decrease stress and anxiety.

By releasing feel-good brain chemicals, exercise can help take your mind off worries and can even help you to gain confidence. One of the biggest reasons that exercise works is through taking the mind off whatever is causing your stress. Stopping the cycle of negative thinking is easier while your body is hard at work. You don’t have to train for a marathon. Anything that gets you moving will help, from gardening or a stroll around the neighborhood to scenic hike.

Therapist Sally R. Connolly, LCSW, reports, “Exercise won’t cure anxiety or depression, but the physical and psychological benefits can improve the symptoms,” she also notes, “Research shows that at least 30 minutes of exercise three to five days a week can significantly make a difference.”

Exercise can even help alleviate anxiety as much as synthetic medications, but with longer lasting anxiety-relieving effects, and, of course, none of the unwanted side effects of most prescription meds.

It’s also said that women who have a family history of anxiety disorders may do better with moderate physical activity, such as power yoga, gardening and walking. For women with no family history of anxiety, intense exercise may work better to reduce or even eliminate anxiety.  You might try jogging, swimming, or cycling if you find yourself in this category.

I feel women of all types can experiences wonderful benefits from dancing as well. Not only is it fun, but by dancing to a rhythm it helps to focus your mind on something other than your worries.