Need to calm down? Movement can help

In 2018, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans concluded that being active can ease anxiety if you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and can lower the long-term risk of developing anxiety.

Results are often immediate. In one study, 80 young adults filled out a mood survey before and after cycling or resting quietly for 20 minutes. Feelings of anxiety and tension dropped following exercise, but not after resting.

And both aerobic and strength training seem to help. 

In two studies of 89 older sedentary men, those who were randomly assigned to lift weights or cycle three times a week had better mood and lower levels of anxiety after six months than those who weren’t assigned to exercise.

(For more on the mental-health benefits of exercise, click here.)