Exercise and Anxiety

For a while now I have wanted to start running again.  I used to run a few years ago but for various reasons, none of which I can remember, I stopped.  Since reading Harriet M Welch’s blog and some of the comments, I have finally been inspired to start running again.

My first run was a 5K fun run this New Years Eve.  It was -20 c, not including the wind chill.  It was very cold.  For the first few kilometers I was wondering “what in the world was I thinking”.  But then I started to warm up and everything was fine.  The race was at 6 pm and with the full moon and the snow resting on the pine trees in the area we were running, it was quite scenic and peaceful.

It has been suggested to me by various docs and my therapist that I should exercise to help manage my anxiety.  I do exercise but not in a consistently aerobic way.  I play hockey once a week as well as walk in the winter and in the summer I do outdoor things such as mountain biking.  These activities aren’t consistently aerobic for me but with running I am aerobic during the entire time.

Although exercise probably does help my anxiety long-term, I do have some problems.  There have been times when I have ran that I would actually have a panic attack.  I have also had panic attacks while playing hockey.  This doesn’t happen often but often enough to freak me out.  Having a panic attack while I am already aerobic is quite the rush but not a rush I enjoy.  I’m not sure if this a common experience or not.  Maybe I am just wacky this way.  This may have been one of the reasons I quit running.  But this time I will try to persevere through the panic attacks and not quit because of them. I know that is easier said then done.   I usually do everything in my power to avoid the panic.

And so I will try to run through the panic.  Plus the added perk of weight loss should hopefully keep me on track..

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This entry was posted in Anxiety, Panic, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Exercise and Anxiety

  1. WillSpirit says:

    That’s dedication to run in such cold! It sounds like it will help. Exercise makes a difference for me, that’s for sure. Best wishes for the New Year.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I am hoping the excerise will help me. I have to find alternate ways of coping with anxiety since I am not able to tolerate meds. Best wishes for the New Year to you as well.

  2. Harriet says:

    Yay! Great job on the 5K, hard to believe they call it a “fun run” don’t you think? I was out running yesterday morning and there were about 35mph winds and the “feels like” temp was 9 F. Chilly. Keep it up!

    • lostinamaze says:

      Thank you Harriet. I was wondering about the ‘fun run’ thing as well. Also turning numb in the cold is not fun at all.

  3. Ellen says:

    Well, I don’t get panic attacks, but with aerobic exercise, I end up dissociated or with somatic memories of trauma. So while I enjoy exercise and I know it’s supposed to be good for me, I’ve stopped it for now and make do with walks. I just can’t handle the symptoms the exercise throws up.

    Haven’t heard of many others with this problem, so in that way, it was good to read your post on this.

    I’d say whether you keep running or not, be gentle with yourself as it’s difficult for you.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I’ve just started back with aerobic exercise. You’re right, I do need to be gentle with myself. That being said gentleness towards myself is seems to be one of the hardest things for me to do.

      I’m glad you stopped by and shared since I haven’t heard of this before either.

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