The Upside of Exercise When Your Feeling Down

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We all have days where it’s just a bit harder to motivate yourself to do things because you’re feeling down. Whether it’s a work stressor, a lack of sleep, or even anxiety or depression – exercise can help! There are many benefits of exercising when you’re feeling down. 

So what are the benefits of exercise on anxiety, depression, or a case of the blues? Take a look at some of the tips given by people who have been there and made it through a rough patch by taking advantage of the benefits of exercise.

Ease Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression can be triggered by a variety of things. Whether you’re going through a stressful time or you’ve been diagnosed with a depression or anxiety disorder, there are moments where you can’t figure out what to do for yourself to help ease these feelings that can take over your mind.

“One of the best ways to kick anxiety and depression to the curb – at least momentarily – is to get out and exercise,” says Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor of Personal Trainer Pioneer. “You can go to the gym or even walk around your neighborhood to get some fresh air. The endorphins released during your cardio session can help bring down those overwhelming feelings and give you a break from the day you’ve been having. Finding a friend who could join you can make the experience even better.”

Take a Break

Exercise is a great way to take a break from whatever is bringing on the blues or anxiety. Chase away anxiety and depression by exercising as a break. While it may be hard to motivate yourself to do this when you’re feeling this way, exercising can help you get out of the funk you’re stuck in and give you a feeling of accomplishment.

“Use exercise as a form of ‘me time’ and make the most of that hour or so break in your day,” says Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB. “Prioritizing yourself and getting away from the environment that’s causing you to feel depressed or anxious can help you breathe and focus on something else for a bit.”

Change of Scenery

Exercising doesn’t have to take place at a gym. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is go to a place where you’ll be surrounded by other people while working through this anxiety or depression. Instead, go explore a new park, run a trail, or take a walk around downtown.

“Exercise for depression or anxiety doesn’t have to be an intense cardio workout,” says Lauren Kleinman, Co-founder of The Quality Edit. “Lots of studies have shown that even walking for an hour can drastically reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Check out your local area and find places you can go explore and make the most of the time you have to exercise.”

Distraction from Stress

Sometimes distractions are the best medicine for depression and anxiety. While it’s not a cure, this can be a great way to get your mind off of the subjects that might be causing those feelings to elevate. Instead of scrolling through social media or binging your comfort show on a streaming platform, try using exercise as a way to focus your mind on something else for a bit.

“Sometimes anxiety and depression can consume our thought processes to the point of not being able to function,” says Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-Founder and CEO of Nue Life. “But exercising makes you focus on something else for a bit. Whether you’re counting reps, keeping up with an instructor, mapping out a workout plan, or even strolling the neighborhood, this exercise plan will help you focus on something that’s not causing you stress – at least for a little while. Sometimes a break from thinking about that subject is all you need to allow you a fresh perspective.”

Promote Better Rest

Anxiety and depression are often worsened by a lack of sleep. However, you often don’t sleep well when you’re anxious or depressed either. Combat insomnia caused by anxiety and depression by making sure you’re tired enough to fall asleep and stay asleep. Exercise is a great way to wear yourself out and promote a better night’s rest.

“It’s no surprise that exercise helps your body use up the energy you have,” says Brandon Adcock, Co-Founder and CEO of Nugenix. “By exercising regularly, you can avoid lying awake at night and losing sleep over subjects that are bringing you down. That can help you have lower depression and anxiety the next day too because you’re less tired from lost sleep. Its a great way to break that vicious cycle.”

Improved Brain Function

Did you know exercise actually helps improve brain function? Studies have shown that regular exercise can help you think more clearly, focus better, and even encourage brain cell reproduction.

“When we’re taking care of our bodies by exercising, we also improve our brain health,” says Natália Sadowski, Director of Aesthetics at Nourishing Biologicals. “Exercising and cardio elevation can improve the way you’re able to solve problems and face those situations that might be causing anxiety or making you feel down. Clearing your mind, encouraging blood flow to the brain, and getting out of the funk you’ve found yourself in can all make a big difference in how you feel.”


Feeling down doesn’t have to ruin your day. Pull yourself out of the rut you’re in by finding ways to exercise and boost your mood. Exercising can help you ease any anxieties or depression that are being exemplified by your situation or the need to take a break and rest on occasion. 

Exercise is a fantastic way to increase endorphins and help chase away those feelings of anxiety and depression naturally. So, if you’re feeling down, try to find something active to do – walk, bike, jog, hike, or make a trip to the gym to pull yourself together and turn the day around. 

Stop that cycle of negative thoughts or worries in it’s tracks by changing up your routine and using exercise as a way to motivate and distract yourself for a while while also taking advantage of the other health benefits. After all, a healthy body helps your brain work better too!

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