Exercise and Anxiety

Hi guys! Happy Sunday! I’m so excited that it’s only 5:00! I looove when Sundays pass by slowly just because usually they go so fast, being the last day of the weekend and all.

How’s your weekend gone so far? I’m not hatin’ mine:D Yesterday was a nice relaxing day of shopping, hitting up the movies and grabbing coffee with some girlfriends, and then making some chili and watching 24 with the hubski. I really need to stop watching 24 right before I go to bed, because it always gives me nightmares! Never fails… I took a rest day from exercise. That nine mile run + the other exercise I got in realllllly kicked my booty.

This morning I woke up to a standard Green Monster before hitting up the gym for a 4.5 mile easy run:

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1 frozen banana, ice, almond milk, Amazing Grass SuperFood, Spinach.

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While I ran, I watched Dazed and Confused. Forgot how classic that movie is. Love it! Plus, kinda reminds me of my own high school days…

 

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Just kidding, mom! ;)         

Lunch was leftover chili topped with goat cheese I made last night:

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I loove putting corn and red pepper in chili! Gives it so much more oomph than just the standard diced tomatoes do!

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Everyone knows peanut butter goes great with chili, right? It does! Even though this was almond butter :)

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The other half had organic strawberry jam and coconut butter that I ate last as a “dessert.”

The rest of the day I’ve just been cleaning, doing laundry, writing up some training plans, and some other writing. I think tonight we’re going to make fajitas and make it a Mexican night! Wonder if we have any Coronas … ;)

Currently nomming on some veggies and hummus while writing this post…

 

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Did you know mushrooms are my favorite veggie to dip in hummus? Love em! Plus, they’re full of selenium which is a huge enemy against free radicals:)

 

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Why Exercise Makes You Less Anxious

I’ve always been a proponent of the belief that exercises soothes the soul. By this, I mean decreases mood swings, limits crankiness, and eases anxiety. This belief is based on both first hand experience and articles and journals I’ve read. In fact, when I’m in one of my cranky moods, I always tell the the husband, “you think this is bad. Imagine if I didn’t exercise!” Mmhaha

Last week I when one of the journals I receive from ACE, Fitness Matters, arrived in the mail, this belief was further enhanced! In the journal was an article titled, . ObPhys Ed: Why Exercise Makes you Less Anxious. Obviously, it immediately drew me in, and I found what it had to say fascinating! So fascinating, that I couldn’t NOT share it with my lovely readers :D

 

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This study was done by researchers at Princeton University. While I hate that the study was conducted with lab rats, the results are pretty awesome.

The first case is presented in two group of rats’ reaction to being submersed in cold water (poor rats :( .) One group had been allowed to run for six weeks, and the other group hadn’t. The researchers found that the cold water activated the stress neurons in all of the rats, but the group of rats who developed new brain cells through running remained calmer. The new cells created from running developed a buffer to a stressful experience! Scientists are finding out how exercise remodels the brain, making it more resistant to stress.

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Furthermore, anxiety is correlated with oxidative stress, which can lead to death of cells. However, researchers found that moderate exercise diminishes the effects of oxidative stress. Researchers at the University of Houston tested this theory by artificially increasing the oxidative stress in rats by injecting them certain chemicals (again, poor rats…) The rats were then placed in unfamiliar terrain in laboratory testing, and were extremely anxious. However, the rats who had exercised were relatively calm under the stressor. They didn’t
run for the dark corners or hide, but explored, unlike the sedentary rats. Therefore, the scientists concluded that the positive stress of exercise equipped the rats to handle stress in other forms.

There were a couple other studies in the articles that found similar results, except for one that only had the rats exercising for three weeks rather than six weeks. This study did not show much reduction in the stress of the exercised rats. I think this finding goes along well with people’s situations. We can’t expect to see results over night when start a fitness regimen, but if we just keep at it, the (psychological, in this case) results are priceless!

 

Have you noticed that exercise makes a positive psychological difference in your life, long term or short term? Long term, I feel like I’m just generally happier, and am able to make decisions with more confidence in stressful situations, which I attribute in part to exercise. Short term, I find that when I work out before (or after, even) work, I typically have a sunny outlook on the day!

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Comments

  1. Hey girl! Sounds like you have had quite a nice weekend! Sundays usually bum me out because I know Monday is the next day. Since we started doing a weekly brunch out on Sunday mornings, I look forward to it A LOT more!! Great lunchy- your chili looks fab. And I LOVE dazed and confused- that movie cracks me up. We had mexican night tonight too- vegetable enchiladas. I definitely think exercise makes me more calm. I always feel a bit nutty if I miss a few too many days :)

  2. I definitely think exercise can affect and ease stress. I certainly notice that I am happier when I get in regular exercise. Although there is also the fine line of not turning to exercise too much, because that can cause negative emotions as well, such as guilt for a missed workout. Just like all things in life, its all about the balance :)

  3. I totally agree; exercise calms my soul. Because of the nasty weather, my routine was totally inside the gym this week end, but that helped me to use machines and mix up my cardio workout like you suggested instead of just walk/runs outside.

  4. Exercise totally helps me mentally and physically! I don’t know how I’d survive without it.

  5. oh my gosh i LOVE dazed and confused! i think i have it memorized!! thanks for the words regarding exercise and anxiety. no wonder i love it. haha.

  6. WOW great info! exercise DEF calms me! its awesome..i love the high too!

  7. dazed and confused is one of my favorite movies. one halloween my husband and i dressed up as “seniors” – with baseball bats and knee socks and everything.

  8. if i didnt do physical exercise, i really think i would be a differnt person. it is so fundamental to my mental health that not being able to move freely, do yoga, just do anything,well i’d be miserable and so would everyone around me!

  9. wow, great post. i was just telling a friend last week that since i’ve been regularly exercising since january that my anxiety has decreased so so much. i tend to have really bad anxiety attacks that come on for no apparent reason, but with the addition of regular exericse, i’ve been a lot better!! i think it’s the combination of being on more of a routie now + the actual exercise/being at the gym. surrounding myself with people who are also healthy just reminds me that i’m not alone! (even if they are all sweaty strangers from the gym, hehe). great info, so glad you posted it. :)

  10. Your chili looks great! Love the goat cheese.

    Exercise definitely makes me feel less anxious. Thanks for the info!

  11. Exercise almost always makes me feel better. Short term, it improves my mood and just sets the rest of the day. Long term, I feel healthier and stronger….like I can do anything! :)

  12. livelaughloveandrun says:

    Reading this reminds me that I have to catch up on 24. This season is just getting good. Did you hear that they might cancel at the end of this season?! I hope not!!!! On another note, I’m always in a better mood when I work out. I actually did a speech on it in college.

  13. I’ve been diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder and actually had to take some time off in high school because it progressed to agoraphobia. So simply put, YES exercise tooootally helps!! One reason why I love working out first thing in the morning is because it starts me off on the right foot. I get all the anxious feelings I wake up with off my chest, and have nothing but endorphins for the rest of the day :) Although, there was a point where I was too anxious to enter a gym – and now I want to work in one!

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