Updated: May 16, 2022
There are a lot of connections between exercise and alleviating ourselves of anxiety and depression.
While it’s true that it often feels like the last thing you want to do when suffering from a vulnerable mental state, the reality is that physical exercise can make a massive difference once you get motivated to start.
Physical exercise helps improve high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis symptoms. Psychologically, the benefits are apparent as well, with multiple studies confirming how regular physical exercise can enhance our moods and reduce our anxieties.
Of course, while there’s a lot of work being done to understand the relationship between physical exercise and stress, the irony is that it’s not an exact science yet. However, there is something to be mentioned regarding physical exercise's positive effects on our breathing habits.
In today’s blog, we’ll be looking at how physical exercise and improved breathing habits can help improve symptoms of anxiety.
How Does it Work?
When using exercise as a tool for relieving yourself of tension, physical excursion can bring a few key benefits:
Endorphin release: Physical exercise is a great way to encourage the body to release feel-good endorphins that instantly help you feel better and enhance your well-being.
In the Moment: Physical exercise is also ideal as a tool to help you stay “in the moment” instead of worrying about the future or things that are out of your control.
Whatever way you do it, the key here is to make sure you’re completing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. This is hugely important as the body enters a state where endorphins are released. So whether it’s walking, running, or lifting weights at the gym, stay true to the 30-minute rule, and you’ll be good to go!
How Does This Affect Breathing
The connection between exercise and better breathing is pretty straightforward. Fundamentally, it comes down to how physical excursion positively impacts your lung capacity. More exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise, leads to a greater lung capacity over time, which leads to more oxygen in the system per breath.
Lung capacity is hugely vital for breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness techniques, primarily because they improve the effects of these techniques as you inhale and exhale at greater capacities while making the body more efficient at processing oxygen at the same time.
However, there is the problem of staying motivated to start exercising in the first place. To help with that, we figure it might be an excellent place to start by engaging in a little deep breathing to help center your thoughts on your objectives while staying relaxed, focused, and present.
For that, we recommend trying the square breathing exercise. Try this for approximately 5-10 minutes:
Breathe in for a count of 4
Hold the top of your breath for a count of 4
Gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4
At the bottom of your breath, pause and hold for a count of 4.
For more information regarding how to manage your breathing for a more effective lifestyle, visit our other blogs here at The Exhale to get the latest tips and tricks. For free guided breathing exercises that you can take anywhere, try out the Breathwrk app here.
And remember: Breathe Better, Live Better.