How Does Exercise Help with Anxiety?

Anxiety, feeling low, post-natal depression, depression, are all extremely difficult things to go through in your life. When you’re not going through it, you can’t ever imagine feeling bad. But when you do feel bad, it’s very hard to imagine a time you’re going to feel like yourself again.

Although a very personal subject, and by no means do I have the answer, or think that a workout will fix the problem, I’d like to touch briefly on the ways exercise can help with anxiety and other scenarios when you’re feeling low.

We’ve had so many women of all ages in our studio, improve their symptoms, come off medication,  stop having panic attacks, stop feel anxious, that I can’t not discuss it.  Having gone through post-natal depression myself, I know how truly awful it is. I never thought I was going to feel like myself again… but I did and I do.


It has become such a big problem in Ireland, and I don’t know the reason for that. It could be more pressure, stress, technology, financial pressure, post-baby, whatever it is, it’s affecting all of us in some way, either directly or through a loved one.


Regular exercise for depression and anxiety may help ease symptoms in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

Regular exercise has many other psychological and emotional benefits, as well. It can help you:

  • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
  • Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.


Yes, it’s easy in theory of course, I get that, but if you can enlist the help of a loved one to get you started, or go workout with you, you may start to feel better.

Little steps…. they’ll take you slowly but surely from where you are now, to where you want to be.

Jessica X

About the author 

Jessica Cooke

I love drinking coffee, and my favourite thing in life (apart from my family) is to help women to get fit, healthy and learn how to love themselves again. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

I’ve coached more than 6,140 women over 14 years get fit, healthy and learn how to love themselves again.

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