Physical exercise can ease anxiety and also reduce depression and anxiety symptoms. Experts believe it accomplishes this by promoting the person’s resilience as well as giving them the chance to relax from stressand improving their mood.

Although research has proven that exercise improves anxiety, stress as well as depression-related symptoms, they don’t completely understand the reasons. It’s unclear how exercise improves mood and improves mental wellbeing however, they do have theories regarding its effects.

A few

The evidence

It is believed that exercising increases the resilience of a person which makes one more capable of handling difficult situations. Research suggests that exercise increases resilience, making a person better equipped to deal with difficult.

The guidelines for exercise to reduce stress are identical to the ones for general health promotion 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Jogging, walking and bicycling are examples of this kind of exercise.

Find out more about the ways exercise can boost your mood, what exercises to attempt as well as the dangers involved and more.

Researchers are researching the mechanisms linking stress and exercise. There are two major theories:

Enhances resilience to the stress

One theory is that exercising can increase your the resilience of your mind to stress.

In a

2014 study

Researchers examined more than 111 people and compared results of a stressful task and a non-stressful task. They also examined the variations between those who exercise regularly and those who were not active.

The results showed that stress was the cause of a lesser decrease in the positive mood of regular exercisers. For those who are sedentary, there was more of a decline in mood. This suggests that exercise could boost resilience, helping individuals cope with stressful situations.

It is also important to remember that the study didn’t demonstrate a direct causal connection between exercise and stress levels. Other factors could be involved — for instance, a person suffering from a chronic illness which makes them physically active could have higher stress levels.

However low levels of stress may result in a person being less likely to be affected by specific health issues. The older research from 2013 indicates that 75-90percent percent of appointments to the primary care physician are due to stress-related illnesses like:

Gives people some relief from stress

Another theory is the “time-out” theory. It is believed that exercise can reduce stress and provides an opportunity to take a break. For instance, one might reduce their tension levels in the workplace by taking an active walk during the lunch break.

Researchers in a 1998 study examined the theory of time-outs within a smaller group of women suffering from anxiety. They discovered that exercising reduced anxiety levels.

A 2021 study on high school students produced similar results. Researchers discovered that taking the 10-minute break for exercise during the stressful week of exams led to lower stress levels and improved cognitive functioning.

A lot of studies on exercises for stress relief concentrate on aerobic exercise. It doesn’t mean other types of exercises like exercise that involves weights are not efficient – they’re however less well-studied.

According to

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The goal for people is to do an hour of moderate exercise or at least 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity per week.

Individuals who are stressed by their job might want to break up their exercise routine into smaller sessions. These can be done prior to working, during lunch break or after work.

A variety of physical activities fall under that category, which is aerobic exercises however, it is not the only one.

American Heart Association (AHA)

It is suggested to walk briskly. One can also choose an sport they like and enjoy, for instance:

  • swimming
  • dancing
  • gardening
  • cycling

Researchers have looked into the ways exercise can help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.


The creators of

2020 review

studied research on exercises’ effects on anxiety. They discovered that physical exercise is able to significantly reduce anxiety symptoms. Additionally, they observed that it could also decrease symptoms associated with other mental health issues.

The authors noted that exercising can assist in the treatment of anxiety disorders by providing various advantages.


In a

Review of 2018

Researchers looked into studies that examined exercises’ effects on mood.

They discovered that for certain individuals, physical exercise may be as efficient as other primary treatment options for depression. Furthermore those who exercise for their physical well-being from exercise could improve overall wellbeing.

While it isn’t an adequate substitute for treatments like medication or therapy for many but it could be an excellent as an addition to a treatment program.

According to

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Evidence strongly suggests that exercising is safe for the majority of individuals. Although it’s not known to cause harm, it can carry the following dangers:

For safe exercise for exercise, the HHS advises:

  • The selection of physical activities that are appropriate to the fitness level of a person. Activities such as gardening, walking, or cycling on a stationary bike have lower rates of injury however contact sports and running are more prone to injury.
  • Start slowly and gradually increasing amount of time and intensity. A person is more likely to be injured when they begin doing excessively strenuous exercises in a short time. It is recommended to increase the duration and intensity slowly, and may find it useful to consult the doctor or personal trainer to get advice.
  • Utilizing the right gear and sports equipment. For certain activities wearing equipment like a helmet or goggles could help avoid injuries. The wearer must ensure their equipment is properly fitted.
  • Selecting safe areas. If a person lives in a warmer climate and is in a warm climate, they might want to exercise in the morning or late evening to stay away from the highest temperatures of the day. Also, people can stay safe by staying clear of areas with high traffic.

Individuals who are not used to exercise might want consult with a doctor prior to beginning a routine of exercise. This is particularly important when they suffer from any health problems that are pre-existing.

A physician can offer guidance on the amount and kind of exercise is appropriate. In addition, if someone suffers from persistent pain or injury and is experiencing pain or injury, they should consult the doctor.

Researchers have proposed that exercise may decrease stress levels and reduce anxiety and depression symptoms by increasing resilience and providing people with the chance to relax from stress.

It is possible to do short bursts of exercise in between work hours or to study. The


The recommendation is to aim for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week.



Notes that while physical exercise is safe for the majority of individuals, however, there are small risk. If someone is new to exercising or has preexisting health issues it is recommended to consult the doctor prior to beginning an exercise program.