It’s been a harrowing year—and counting. That’s why I’ve dedicated a lot of time talking to you about how to manage pandemic anxiety. And regular exercise is always one of my first recommendations—for good reason.
Exercise is one of the most effective stress-busters there is. It triggers the release of feel-good endorphins that kill pain, bust tension, elevate your mood, and offer a sense of calm.
But of course, reaping those rewards from exercise requires actually getting up and doing it. And according to one new study, well… that’s easier said than done.
A rock and a hard place
Researchers from McMaster University surveyed more than 1,600 people to investigate how mental health influenced levels of physical activity throughout the pandemic. And their results revealed a concerning catch-22.
As you might expect, subjects reported higher levels of psychological stress, along with pandemic-triggered anxiety and depression.
But compared to the six months before the pandemic hit, they were also getting 20 minutes less of aerobic activity weekly—and about 30 minutes less of strength training. Meanwhile, sedentary time rocketed by a full 30 minutes per day.
The people who reported the biggest drops in physical activity suffered the worst, mentally—while people who managed to maintain their exercise routines fared best. (No surprises there.)
But these results—which appeared in a recent issue of PLOS One—drive home a very real dilemma: The people who have the most to gain from a consistent exercise routine are also the same people who struggle the most to maintain one when anxiety levels peak.
Clearly, finding ways to make regular movement more manageable, even under high-stress conditions, is key. So, today, I want to share one powerful strategy in particular—and it’s likely the last one you’d ever expect.
“Enhance” your exercise routine
As part of a different 2019 study, researchers recruited 600 cannabis users in five states—California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington—to answer a number of questions, including whether or not they ever used cannabis before or after exercise.
For a whopping 82 percent of respondents, their answer was “yes”. Most used cannabis after exercising. But nearly 70 percent replied that they used it before and after physical activity.
And that’s not all: Of the users that paired exercise and cannabis, 70 percent said it made their exercise more enjoyable. Nearly 80 percent said it improved recovery. And more than 50 percent said that it increased motivation.
But here’s the real kicker: People who used it before workouts clocked roughly 43 more minutes of exercise weekly, compared to those who didn’t.
Joint discomfort is easily the single biggest barrier to physical activity for most older patients. So the fact that cannabis might make exercise more palatable isn’t exactly surprising.
But it’s even less surprising if anxiety is as big of an exercise hurdle as the research I mentioned above suggests.
After all, as I’ve reported here before, cannabidiol (CBD), in particular, has emerged as one of my top recommendations for safe, natural anxiety management. And if it helps to grease the wheels for a good workout, too?
Well, that’s just one more reason to include it in your daily supplement arsenal today.
So, if you’re ready to see what cannabis may be able to offer to you, I encourage you to check out the July 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Ready to try CBD?”), where I outline how you can find a product that really works. If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to become one today!
Then, try to incorporate some sort of exercise into your day-to-day routine—to the tune of at least 150 minutes per week (which breaks down to just a little over 20 minutes daily).
“People want to improve mental health by exercising, but stress and anxiety get in the way.” Science Daily, 04/12/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210412121216.htm)