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Exercise, Anxiety, and Being Out Of Shape!
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Exercise, Anxiety, and Being Out Of Shape!

Okay, so without getting into my long-winded back-story I am 30 and was diagnosed with GAD (+panic attacks) in 2001. I have had a long hard road of healing from it (which is absolutely possible) and have not had a panic attack in a couple years and my day-to-day anxiety is pretty much non-existent and has been for the past year and a half. Though I still have lingering health-anxiety that gets worse or better based on how I feel, which is sort of what leads me to my current situation and question.

I need to get in shape and exercise. There are many reasons for me to - such as wanting to be healthy and here for my kids and wife, hopefully getting rid of my anxiety forever, and just feeling better.

Here are the factors I have going against me: a.) I smoke and have for 15 years..really trying to quit within the next month, b.) I am way out of shape because of the smoking, plus I am fairly sedentary bc I work on computers, websites, etc. and am also a FT student at Liberty University and am at the computer a lot for that as well, and c.) I have not exercised in many years and, while I used to play sports and whatnot, I never really exercised per se at any point in my life.

So today I started a little routine to ease myself back into exercising. I know with my situation I need to take it easy at first. So I took the kids and went for a 1 and 1/3 mile walk that was mostly uphill. I did okay and really did not get winded, but I did have some weird symptoms that I wanted to ask folks in here about.

Whenever I am doing any type of activity that is physical, my vision gets kinda cloudy and I feel kinda off-balance a little bit (I also have BPPV, a type of vertigo that comes and goes). This gets worse as I do more rigorous activity. Now, these syptoms (symptoms) are similar to feelings that I get when I get the anxiety "going", but I am curious if this happens to anyone else when they are exercising.

I do know that I have had a sort of anxious feeling about exercising for quite some time because I feel like bc I am so out of shape something is going to happen to me (like passing out or something). More than likely these feelings are more a sum of the parts of what my situation is, but I was pretty much look for thoughts from others who may be in the same situation. Thanks!

Mike
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I'm not in the same situation, sorry, always been active, but hey, you're only 30.  You're still young.  So start slowly and work your way up.  Maybe it was just a bit hot.  My suggestion would be to go back to playing some sport, it will keep your mind more occupied and you won't notice these things so much.  Play your way into shape in other words, don't work you way into shape.
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Quote:
"Whenever I am doing any type of activity that is physical, my vision gets kinda cloudy and I feel kinda off-balance a little bit (I also have BPPV, a type of vertigo that comes and goes). This gets worse as I do more rigorous activity. Now, these syptoms (symptoms) (symptoms) are similar to feelings that I get when I get the anxiety "going", but I am curious if this happens to anyone else when they are exercising."


When you stimulate the sympathetic nervous system(i.e for instance physical activity) you can get similar "symptoms" as anxiety because the neurophysiological responses have cross-overs in the HPA-axis where the adrenal outpouring plays an important role. Your brain may recognize this as "anxiety". The adrenal response is innervated on the brain's command whenever we encounter a "fight or flight" situation or just by increasing physical activity. That is normal. As said before, there are cross- overs regarding the sympathetic responses. If you've been living a very sedentary life for a long time your body is not used to the increase of sympathetic response(adrenaline) and your brain can err and interpret the "symptoms" as anxiety.
It is not dangerous to exert the body, but as Paxiled says it would be wise to start slowly and maybe have some fun at the same time so you don't indulge the worrying. Thinking about the symptoms will only fuel worry. And I guess that was really not your idea of getting into shape...:)
If you have managed to beat anxiety/panic attacks( I think that is so great!) then these minor symptoms should be like crushing a blade under your feet in comparison.

Good luck!

Nora
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WOW! Thanks for the explanation. There are some folks that do not like answers that are that "scientific" (for lack of better phrase!), but not me. I love learning things like that. I have learned so much about anxiety in the past many years (I am a researcher :-)  ) and knew that it was probably along these lines, but never heard it put that way. It makes absolute sense. And actually, I went to my doctor about this a while back and he pretty much said "it is related to anxiety and adrenaline) but that answer lacked the real "meat and potatoes" that I like to know.

My whole family went for a walk today and I did make a correlation. At first, I was fine - the walk was brisk and mostly uphill at first and I was feeling the effects of being out of shape. However, just shortly after I started "thinking" about the vision changes (which were not there at first) I started getting them - yep that dreaded cycle (luckily, I know how to break it now!) had started and lasted all the way home, but I didn't let it discourage me. While it is hard, one of the best things that I have learned is to have the thought of "whatever happens happens and I cannot do anything about it - I might as well keep on truckin!" Must be some sort of underlying control issue with me :-). In addition to that, my faith in God has increased a lot especially since I overcame my panic and anxiety for the most part and I know that He is in control and I need to accept that. Anyone can disagree with me all they want, but I know He is real and there for me!

I digress - thanks again Nora for your answer. Have a great week!

Mike
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2036047_tn?1329664484
That is awesome to know as well.. My Dr keeps telling me to get exercise that it will reduce my anxiety/panic attacks but I have found it causes them as well.. I used to be athletic but after high school I became very lazy.. I am almost 32 and have a fear of working out or attempting because of the anxiety feeling it gives me when my heart starts to race or I start feeling out of breathe. I am glad I am not alone with this feeling. Some days are good and some are bad. I am not over weight I am 5'10" (tall for a girl) and weigh about 160 to 165 lbs. I live upstairs in an apartment. Some days walking the stairs dont bother me but today I was winded after coming up them.. some days I get winded just walking to the bathroom.. Thats how I know I am out of shape.. I also have MVP and that caused me to stop working out after high school in the first place I thought with a heart problem I would make it worse by excreting it to much...
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