Can adopting this healthy habit ease your anxiety?

My Hormonology

Can adopting this healthy habit ease your anxiety?


Do you get intense anxiety? Does it strike at certain points in your menstrual cycle, such as your Week 2 (the week leading up to and including ovulation) when spiking estrogen pushes your energy over the top or your premenstrual Week 4 (the six days before your period) when estrogen is falling?

Try adopting a regular exercise regimen. A 2019 study found that folks who don’t move their body are three times more likely to experience intense anxiety than those who regularly jog, bike, swim, jump rope, climb stairs or do other types of aerobic workouts (the kind that gets your heart pumping).(1)

The researchers emphasize this is an observational study, so it doesn’t examine why exercisers are significantly less likely to have intense stress. However, they point out that exercise has been shown in other research to calm an overactive part of the brain involved in anxiety—hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis—as well as reduce inflammation that can worsen anxiety symptoms.

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(1) Dalton Gonçalves Lima Alves, et al. “The positive impact of physical activity on the reduction of anxiety scores: a pilot study,” Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira, 65 (2019): 434-440.

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