Anxiety Community
23k Members
1553083 tn?1296235921

Anxiety Attacks from Exercising

Has anyone experienced an anxiety attack caused by exercising?  I have anxiety disorder and have been working with a trainer at the gym twice a week for about 5 months.  Sometimes I have an anxiety attack after a hard workout because I relate the pounding heart, increased heart rate, etc. with an anxiety attack.  I have had a physical and cardiac workup and my heart is fine.    Also, has anyone experienced having anxiety that lasts for several days?  Just an overly anxious feeling that doesn't go away.  I have started counciling and medication, so I am sure that is part of it.  Thanks :).  
7 Responses
1547031 tn?1296835036
Yes to both.  I don't work out regularly, but my house is a two story.  Sometimes if I've had to run up and down the stairs a couple of times in a row to where my heart rate is up, it can trigger an anxiety attack.  Usually, when I feel that starting to happen I can head it off at the pass, this is certainly one of the more controllable instances for me.  I just lay down and do some abdominal breathing and tell myself over and over that my heart racing from the stairs and I dont HAVE to have an anxiety attack over something like that!  My anxiety certainly goes in cycles.  It ebbs and flows.  Sometimes there are days in a row or even a week or two where every day is filled with anxiety attacks, all of different severity but several of them per day.  I'm easily set off, jumpy, startle easily during these times.  Then I'll have a couple days or week where I maybe only have one minor one a day.  But it definitely ebbs and flows.  My psychiatrist once told me that anxiety begots anxiety and that's why it's so easy to get into a cycle of perpetual anxiety.  There was also a really good posting on her a week or so ago about cyclical panic.  Check it out!  Stay strong, Take good care.
1553083 tn?1296235921
Do you ever find that when you experience anxiety, especially after exercise, that it takes awhile for your heart rate to slow down?  
1547031 tn?1296835036
For me personally, not too long.  Less than 5 minutes.  But,like I said, thats a trigger that I can control.  If it is one of my other triggers that I feel I have less control over, well that's a whole different story!
345079 tn?1299206076
For me exercise helps. I go in with an attitude that I am going to kick butt and work out hard. However my 17yr old niece has panic attacks when she does cardio and her heart starts beating hard. She feels winded and gets scared and it raises her pulse very quickly which gets her in a full panic. We talked to her doctor about it and they told her to try and do cardio such as swimming, or something that would be not as noticeable that your pulse is raising. I believe that in the long run it really does help anxiety so hopefully you can work with your doctor or find something that doesnt cause the anxiety.
Good Luck
1492418 tn?1289152863
I exercise every day and get uncomfortable alot. two things that help me are knowing i have felt this way a jillion times beofre and didn't die and that as long as my heart rate doesn't stay for a long period of time over 140 i am in no real danger so just try to focus away from the physical feelings
1553083 tn?1296235921
I have started to use a heart monitor when working with the trainer - sometimes it helps and sometimes it causes anxiety - haha.  I can have a good, hard workout with the trainer and have some mild anxiety discomfort or have a few 'great' days with no anxiety at all.  Then for whatever reason, we'll have a hard workout and the resulting anxiety is high.  I keep checking my heart rate for several hours before I go to bed and it never goes above 90, but just the sensation of my heart beating feels like it is pounding.  Of all the panic/anxiety symptoms that I have, those that are related to my heart are the hardest and most frightening.  The councilor is to start working with me on how to deal with those heart issues.......
Avatar universal
I have worked out (cardio, resistance training, running, weights) since I was 13/14 and started experience anxiety attacks when I was 19. For a good year, I had no idea what was going on with my body until I had a violent depressive episode (I only really know as a "nervous breakdown").
I used to experience tightness in my chest, a suddenly apparent and fast beating heart, and a feeling that a I couldn't breathe anymore etc., in 2 very separate ways. 1) an emotional trigger, and 2) about 20 minutes after working out whether it be 30 minutes or 2 hours. I went to the university hospital, and the doctor told me I wasn't drinking enough water and I had improper form while working out. She was terribly wrong, because the attacks came for years after. about 3-4. I never thought I was going to die, I was just in a lot of pain. I checked it out again at a different hospital in the same town and they said that it was a reaction to binge drinking. Also wrong. I never saw another doctor after that. Long Story Short:

The attacks, even though it was 4 years later, did stop - and it was randomly one day. I want you to know that it was okay for you to continue to work out as much as you want. You do not need to be afraid of it, your chest pain has nothing to with physically exerting yourself "too much". Please remember to drink lots of water though.

I figured out my real problem was really an emotional/mental trigger. With that you need to see a therapist. Work out with a PARTNER, it will help you concentrate on everything that you need to with the added bonus of someone watching over you, your moves, your mood etc.
working out releases endorphins, the hormone that makes you feel beautiful and happy.. exactly what you need right now.

PS. I am now going for my personal training licence. You can do it!
Have an Answer?
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what can trigger a panic attack – and what to do if you have one.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Take control of tension today.
These simple pick-me-ups squash stress.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?