Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million Americans, including a number of celebrities who have been candid about their anxiety and how they cope.
Though anxiety affects people in different ways, there is one common denominator involving how these celebs are treating their mental health: by focusing on their physical health. This isn't surprising considering the powerful link between your mind and body.
If you also suffer from anxiety, check out how some of your favorite celebs have kept calm, centered, and fit by hitting the gym.
"If I don’t work out, I feel heavy," Selena Gomez told Yahoo! "Everything about me just feels a little bit down. And sometimes I will just run on the treadmill and get emotional because it sort of relieves everything that [I'm] feeling."
The "Wolves" singer is definitely onto something. Research has proven that running is one form of exercise that helps alleviate anxiety and depression in a number of different ways, including increasing body temperature.
Someone having an anxiety attack often feels cold or chilly because of the restricted blood flow to the skin due to the constriction of blood vessels caused by the stress response. A quick run immediately warms up the body, which effectively calms the mind.
Also, the the rhythm, repetition, and discipline of running is often considered meditative. No wonder so many people "zone out" while going out for a run. You're actually meditating!
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In an Instagram post, Lena Dunham sang the praises of fitness instructor, Tracy Anderson, and her dance-infused workouts.
"[I] promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with Girls Season 5 and here is why: It has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible. To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain."
Not only can a vigorous cardio workout like dancing help alleviate symptoms for hours, but also keeping a consistent workout schedule like Dunham is known to significantly reduce them over time.
"A good boxing workout is the best stress, anxiety, and rage reliever there is, so I definitely look forward to that," Gabrielle Union told Elle Magazine.
Scientists have found that regular participating in aerobic exercise, like boxing, has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, while also improving your self-esteem and your sleep.
By taking a boxing class, you'll find a place of social engagement, which serves as a source of distraction and means of support, as well as feel a sense of achievement -- an instant confidence booster.
Whether you run, dance, box, or even take a walk around the block, any exercise is known to improve how you feel. Not only does exercise provides a rush of endorphins –- those 'feel good' chemicals -- but it also releases stress and tension in a safe, effective, and healthy way. Getting your sweat on has never felt so good.
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