How Exercise Can Relieve Anxiety And Depression

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Being a Psychology major and regular exercise enthusiast, the topic of my essay is how exercise can relieve anxiety and depression.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can help and even prevent many health conditions such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, and high blood pressure.[1]

Research has also shown the benefits of exercise on mood, anxiety and depression.

Exercise accomplishes this by stimulating endorphins-a chemical substance in the brain that enhances a feeling of well-being.

Another way exercise can alleviate depression and anxiety is by shifting your focus away from obsessive or recurring thoughts.

My mother has diabetes and wrote a book on how to reverse diabetes, stressing the importance of exercise.

Ten to fifteen minutes of walking or moderate exercise after eating can lower blood sugar as much as 36% which in turn has a beneficial effect on mood.

Whether it is a structured program with a trainer, or going for a walk around the park, the benefits can be enormous if you stick with it long enough.

Scientists have observed that a region in the brain known as the hippocampus is smaller in people who suffer from depression.
The hippocampus is the mood regulating portion of the brain.

Dr. Miller of “The Harvard Health Letter” explains that physical manifestations can result from depression and anxiety.[2]

These manifestations may take the form of changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, inability to focus, irritability, and even body aches.

The reality of depression and anxiety is that it can be immobilizing, making it difficult to even begin an exercise program.

It’s not a quick fix to a mood disorder, however, if a person can manage even five minutes per day in the beginning, they stand a good chance of increasing over time and sticking with it as they see improvements in mood and other health issues.

Another excellent benefit of exercise is the reduction of stress.[3]

We all know the feeling of tight necks and shoulders, headaches, back pain, nervous stomach, etc.

As these symptoms worsen, you may find yourself worrying about the symptoms themselves which in turn causes you to feel even more stress.

This becomes a vicious cycle which can be broken with exercise.

One of the best stress busters and ways to get exercise is to rescue a dog from your local shelter or rescue group.

A dog will love you unconditionally, make it a necessity for you to exercise while you’re walking your pet, and get you in the fresh air which is a highly effective and therapeutic form of exercising.

Much research has been done on the enormous benefits of getting a dog to walk and love to relieve depressive symptoms.


My name is Nikki Newball. I am 19 years old and a freshman at The University of Central Florida in Orlando. I am scheduled to graduate in 2021 with a degree in Psychology and plan on continuing to earn my M.S.W. (Master’s in Social Work). I exercise regularly as I am fortunate enough to live in a complex with a gym as well as having access to the gym on campus. I find that nothing is better for relieving school related stress than exercise, even if it is just a walk outside in the fresh air.



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