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Sweat the Stress Out

Exercise helps ease anxiety and depression

WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A good dose of exercise may help ease your depression or anxiety.

Even just 10 minutes of moderate exercise can improve your mood, says an article in the July issue of Mayo Clinic HealthSource.

Benefits of exercise include:

  • Improved confidence. Accomplishing even a modest exercise goal makes it easier for you to take the next positive step.
  • Positive distraction. Exercise helps shift your mind away from unpleasant or unhelpful thoughts.
  • Improved self-esteem. You may feel better about yourself after getting more fit or losing a few pounds.
  • Positive pairings. The breathing changes, sweating, and increased heart rate you experience while exercising can mimic the signs of anxiety or panic disorders. Associating these symptoms with something positive such as exercise may teach you not to live in fear of them.
  • Positive coping skills. Exercise lets you actively manage your symptoms of anxiety or depression, instead of passively waiting for them to subside.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about how you can control your anxiety.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, June 2004
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