7 Exercise Tips For Managing PTSD Symptoms

7 exercise tips for managing ptsd symptoms

7 Exercise Tips For Managing PTSD Symptoms

If you or someone you know struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), incorporating exercise into your daily routine can have a profound impact on mental health. Studies show that exercise can help alleviate PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Understanding the Connection Between Exercise and PTSD

Before diving into the exercise tips, it’s important to understand the science behind the connection between exercise and PTSD recovery. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins, which promote feelings of happiness and well-being. These endorphins also act as natural painkillers, reducing the physical discomfort that often accompanies PTSD symptoms.

Additionally, exercise stimulates the production of neurotrophic factors, which are proteins that help the brain repair itself and form new neural connections.

Research has shown that individuals who suffer from PTSD often have a difficult time regulating their emotions and may experience feelings of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. These symptoms can be debilitating and can impact a person’s quality of life. However, exercise has been shown to help alleviate several PTSD symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety: Exercise can help reduce feelings of anxiety by promoting the release of endorphins, which can create a sense of calm and relaxation.
  • Depression: Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression, which is a common symptom of PTSD. Exercise can help boost mood and reduce feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • Insomnia: Exercise can help regulate sleep patterns and promote better sleep quality, which can be especially helpful for individuals who suffer from insomnia as a result of PTSD.
  • Flashbacks: Exercise can be a helpful distraction from intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, which are common symptoms of PTSD.
  • Unwanted thoughts: Exercise can help reduce the frequency and intensity of unwanted thoughts, which can be a source of distress for individuals with PTSD.
  • Nightmares: Exercise can help reduce the occurrence of nightmares, which are a common symptom of PTSD and can interfere with sleep.

By reducing these symptoms, exercise can help improve quality of life and overall well-being.

The Science Behind Exercise & PTSD Recovery

Research has shown that exercise can help increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes the growth and survival of brain cells. BDNF has been shown to be lower in individuals with PTSD, and increasing its levels may promote recovery.

Additionally, exercise has been shown to help regulate the body’s stress response system. Individuals with PTSD often have an overactive stress response, leading to an exaggerated fight-or-flight response to stressors. Exercise can help reduce these responses and promote a sense of calm and relaxation.

While exercise can be a helpful tool in PTSD recovery, it should not be used as a substitute for traditional treatments such as therapy and medication. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine.

Establishing An Exercise Routine

Setting Realistic Goals

When starting an exercise routine, it’s important to set realistic goals. Start small and gradually increase your activity level as you become more comfortable. Don’t expect to run a marathon on your first day. Setting small, achievable goals will help you stay motivated and build confidence.

For example, if you’re new to exercise, you might start by walking for 10 minutes a day. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.

Creating A Schedule

Creating a schedule can help you stay motivated and make exercise a habit. Set aside specific times each week for exercise and treat it as a vital commitment to yourself. Consistency is key when it comes to establishing a workout routine.

Choose a time of day that works best for you. Some people prefer to exercise in the morning, while others find it easier to fit in a workout during their lunch break or in the evening. Find what works best for your schedule and stick to it.

Tracking Your Progress

Tracking your progress can help you stay motivated and see the improvements you’re making over time. Keep a journal or use a fitness tracking app to record your exercise routine and note how you’re feeling.

Tracking your progress can also help you identify areas where you need to make changes. For example, if you’re not seeing the results you want, you may need to increase the intensity of your workouts or make changes to your diet.

Remember, establishing an exercise routine takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up if you miss a workout or don’t see results right away. Keep working at it, and you’ll soon start to see the benefits of regular exercise.

Choosing The Right Type Of Exercise

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises, such as running, walking, or cycling, can help improve cardiovascular health and increase endorphin production. These exercises are great for people who want to improve their endurance and overall health.

Running, for example, can help you burn calories, strengthen your heart, and improve your lung capacity. Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done anywhere, and it’s a great way to get your body moving without putting too much stress on your joints. Cycling is another excellent aerobic exercise that can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness while also strengthening your leg muscles.

Strength Training

Strength training, such as weightlifting or resistance band exercises, can help improve muscle strength and boost confidence. These exercises are ideal for people who want to build muscle and increase their overall strength.

Weightlifting, for example, can help you build muscle mass, increase your metabolism, and improve your bone density. Resistance band exercises are a great alternative to weightlifting, as they can be done anywhere and are perfect for people who are just starting out with strength training.

Mind-Body Exercises

Mind-body exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, can help promote relaxation and stress reduction. These exercises are perfect for people who want to improve their mental health and reduce their stress levels. Yoga, for example, can help you improve your flexibility, balance, and strength while also promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Tai chi is another excellent mind-body exercise that can help you improve your balance, flexibility, and overall well-being.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities, such as hiking or swimming, can help promote feelings of well-being and increase exposure to vitamin D. These exercises are great for people who want to get outside and enjoy nature while also getting some exercise.

Hiking, for example, can help you burn calories, strengthen your legs, and reduce stress. Swimming is another excellent outdoor activity that can help you improve your cardiovascular health while also strengthening your entire body.

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Your Workout

The Benefits Of Mindful Exercise

Mindful exercise can help promote feelings of relaxation and reduce stress. Additionally, by focusing on the present moment, you can reduce distractions and enhance your awareness of your body and its sensations, helping you develop a deeper connection with your body.

Techniques For Practicing Mindfulness During Exercise

Start by taking a few deep breaths and setting an intention for your workout. During your exercise, focus on your breath, the sensations in your body, and the movement of your muscles. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to the present moment.


By incorporating these exercise tips into your routine, you can help alleviate PTSD symptoms and improve your overall well-being. Remember to start small, set realistic goals, and listen to your body. With time and consistency, exercise can be a powerful tool for mental health recovery.

Incorporate mindfulness into your workouts to enhance the benefits of exercise for your mental well-being. By practicing mindfulness during exercise, you can deepen your connection with your body and reduce stress.

Take the first step towards managing your PTSD symptoms through exercise. Contact Restoring Wellness Solutions today and let our dedicated team guide you on your path to healing. With commitment and consistency, exercise can become a powerful tool in your journey towards a healthier and happier life.

If you are interested in learning more about ketamine for PTSD treatment in Winston-Salem, NC, contact Restoring Wellness Solutions and request your consultation today.

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