How Exercise Can Help In PTSD Recovery

Guest Post by: Joyce G.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is otherwise referred to as PTSD. It is a severe anxiety disorder that is caused by exposure to traumatic experiences that involves serious physical danger or anguish. This condition is commonly diagnosed in individuals who have gone through life-changing incidences with a negative impact like battle trauma, abuse (physical, sexual or emotional), natural disasters, serious accidents, near-death experiences and even loss of a loved one.

People who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will usually experience sever anxiety, depression, flashbacks of the traumatic experience, paranoia, hyperventilation and the feeling like he or she lacks control. Those who experience flashbacks and severe anxiety may find it harder to sleep. Most will be so keyed up that they find it hard to breath. This can lead to paranoia and multiple trips to the emergency room before the condition is diagnosed.

Recent studies have shown that exercise has positive benefits on people suffering from PTSD. Researchers discovered that patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises are able to sleep better at night and observed markedly reduced levels of anxiety compared to those who live sedentary lifestyles. This is linked to the endorphins produced in the brain during vigorous exercise. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body that increase a person’s sense of well-being.

It is important to note that people who suffer from PTSD need to seek out the advice of their therapists to find out about acceptable regimens for their condition. They may even have to consult their physician if they have medical conditions. Exercise on treadmills is a great way to start any workout. It increases the heart rate and can be set to certain speeds. This allows a person to monitor how fast he or she wants to go. It is always best to start out slower, especially if a patient lives a sedentary lifestyle. Stretching exercises before and after a workout may also help prevent muscular strain.

Those who suffer from PTSD are given medication to help with their condition. While exercise may help reduce the effects, it is not a good idea for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to stop taking their medication without the approval of their therapist. He or she may prescribe reduced doses to patients who notice a significant change in their condition. However, a therapist will rarely choose to stop medication altogether. Going “cold turkey” may actually worsen PTSD.

By combining the right amount of exercise with proper medication and a healthy diet, a patient who suffers from PTSD can expect to feel better in due time. If you suffer from PTSD and intend on working out, visit your therapist beforehand to find out what times of the day you can squeeze your exercise regimen into. Some PTSD medication like anti-anxiety drugs can make you drowsy. Therefore, it would not be advisable to take them before a work out. So although exercise will do wonders for your condition, consult a doctor first.

About the author: Joyce G. is a professional health blogger and writer.  She currently partners with in raising awareness about the importance of health and fitness. NordicTrack has come to symbolize the means for serious athletes and fitness-buffs alike to “get ready for adventure,” whatever that may be. Learn more about  exercise on treadmills at Nordictrack. 


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979