If you ask a health professional for natural ways to relieve anxiety, exercise will most likely be on their list of recommendations. In fact, Harvard Health found that consistent exercise is just as effective in treating depression as SSRI antidepressants are. Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, physical therapist, and author of Better Than Perfect, told Mindbodygreen, "When anxiety tries to seep into my life, exercise is my go-to strategy to control it."
Of course, not all forms of exercise are created equal when it comes to improving and maintaining mental health. Mindbodygreen tapped four health professionals to get their take on which exercises relieve stress and anxiety. The winner? Zumba. "The music, the moves, the community—the combination is really unparalleled," said neurologist Ilene Ruhoy. "It makes the body and mind feel good and contributes to a sense of belonging to a larger group of people with similar interests."
If dancing isn't your thing, the experts also recommend Pilates, kickboxing, belly dancing, yoga, and tai chi to quell anxiety in a pinch. They write that Pilates is a great core-strengthening activity that can help boost confidence, while kickboxing is a great stress reliever. Belly dancing reportedly taps into the "divine feminine intuition," while yoga and tai chi can improve breathing and strengthen the mind-body connection.
What's your go-to exercise for anxiety? Share your thoughts below, and then read up on how weighted blankets can help with anxiety.