5 exercises to naturally treat your anxiety and depression

5 exercises to naturally treat your anxiety and depression

5 exercises to naturally treat your anxiety and depression

Exercise is the ultimate wellness tool. Not only is it important for keeping our bodies healthy, but it can also do wonders for your mind. Regular exercise can help improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also serve as an outlet for your attention and stress.

For more mental health tips, see how you can Improve your mood without therapy and how to change your diet to benefit your mental well-being.

Why should you exercise for mental health?

Exercise makes you feel good about yourself. When I say exercise, I don’t mean just going to the gym and lifting weights. Exercise is anything that make you move. You don’t have to leave the house to boost your mental well-being with physical activity.

Benefits of exercise on your mental health:

No amount of exercise will unlock good mental health. This means you have the flexibility to find something that fits your life. There are no slashes to meet – any amount of movement counts. However, researchers note that more exercise will increase the return.

Exercises to improve your mental health


For many people, walking is what they do mental health exercise. It’s one of my favorites as it’s relatively low impact and can be done anywhere. Walking can help relieve stress, alleviate anxiety symptoms, and promote positive thinking. If you want the best results, go outside and immerse yourself in the greenery. Nature walks have been found to reduce anxiety.

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It doesn’t have to be a long walk; studies show that just 15 minutes of walking can lower the risk of becoming depressed by 26%.


If you’re looking for a more intense form of exercise for your mental health, try running. Our brains are flooded with endorphins that boost our mood when we run. It’s what people call “hallway high.” Studies have found that outdoor exercise is an effective treatment alternative to antidepressants.

Consistent running can also make it easier to fall asleep and increase sleep quality, which is key to decreasing anxiety and depression symptoms.

See more information: 5 great running apps to help you reach your fitness goals

Elder couple running in a park

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strength training

Give strength training a try if you want the added benefit of building muscle while healing your mental health. May lower the risk of developing depression or relieve existing symptoms. You also get the satisfaction of hitting your strength goals.

Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym and lifting weights. You can easily build strength at home with free weights, resistance bands and your body weight.


Yoga not only helps move your body, it also gives you a chance to reflect and meditate. That’s why we think it’s one of the best exercises you can do to improve your mental health. focusing on your breath can eliminate bad mental health habits like thought loops and negative thinking. Controlled breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which puts you in a state of relaxation. It does this by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.

The parasympathetic nervous system is the counterpart of the sympathetic nervous system that controls the body’s fight-or-flight response. When you have anxiety, your sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive, even if there’s no danger. Yoga can help engage your parasympathetic nervous system to bring it back into homeostasis.

One of the best parts of yoga it’s the variety. You can choose the type you would like to do – from soothing to more physically demanding.


Dancing is another exercise option that can significantly reduce anxiety. It can also boost self-esteem. Just like yoga, you can choose the type of dance you will do – they all have benefits. If you’re not a ballet dancer, try tango or free-flowing movement.

You don’t have to go to a dance studio to reap the benefits. You can take virtual dance classes from the comfort of your home. However, synchronized or choreographed group dancing can maximize results if you want social interactions. Classes like Zumba have social benefits that other forms of exercise lack. They allow you to connect with others and build friendships.

Young man in a fitness dance class performing the moves

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Practical tips to start exercising for mental health

Getting started is the hardest point. Here are some strategies for making exercise a staple in your routine.

  • Choose an activity you like: Try not to think of exercise as something you have to do. Instead, see it as another tool you use on your wellness journey.
  • set realistic goals: Going too far with exercise can negatively affect your mental health, especially if you set goals for yourself that you can’t reasonably meet. Set small goals that you can build on as you grow. Remember, you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.
  • Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself for completing a workout is a great idea to make it a habit. It doesn’t have to be anything big – maybe an extra episode of your favorite show or a bubble bath.
  • Make it a social thing: If you are someone who thrives when given responsibility, make your exercise a social activity with friends.

Exercise is an excellent tool for managing everyday symptoms of mental health conditions. However, exercise is not intended to replace therapy and medication for those who depend on them to function.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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