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Anxiety Support
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Exercise Induced Anxiety

Has anybody on here ever dealt with exercise induced anxiety? Three years ago I had a bad panic attack while on an elliptical machine (heart racing for no reason).

I've dealt with anxiety for a long time and it physically manifests itself in different ways. First it was the nocturnal panic attacks, then it was a heart racing for no reason in the middle of the day, sometimes it's the sensation that my heart is skipping a beat. For the most part I have practiced meditation and acceptance, and it has really worked. I've had all sorts of test done and seen doctors of all sorts, and everything is fine. I know it is anxiety.

But the one hurdle I have yet to overcome is going back to the gym. Because cardio get your heart rate up, it is the same type of feeling as having a panic attack. I've done some fast walking, but that is as far as I can get. I am so afraid to start doing cardio again, yet I know that exercise is one of the best things for your anxiety. It's almost as if anxiety has me in a catch 22! Literally walking into a gym can make my heart race. Wondering if someone else has ever dealt with this?

4 Replies

Hey Stella Maris! Honestly I've been dealing with the same issue. I'm 26 (as of 2 days ago) and I've been diagnosed with anxiety for 5 years now. I used to be so active and also found that why in the heck would I exercise when I associate my fast heart rate to an anxiety attack? Well I've felt that way for years. Funny I come across this tonight though, as I just got done watching a movie with my mom I sat up and had extreme heart palpitations. Usually I take a deep breath and thier gone. Not this time. I went upstairs into my room and literslly knew I was letting the anxiety totallystart to manifest. Usually all I do when that happens is either lay down, or pop an Ativan (which I had depending on when the time comes) and then lay down. This time something in me just said f*** this. And I went and got my bike and went for a leisurely night ride. Didn't try to break a sweat, just got moving more. Not gonna lie my anxiety was kind of bad at first while doing it. I just got that magical and rare moment where I thought if this is how I die then this is it. I'm trying to be strong and I'm doing all that I can at this exact point in time and if this is how I'm meant to be taken then I can't do anything about that so I might as well accept my fate and keep pushing while at least attempting to strengthen my heart. Mind you I've NEVER came to the conclusion to exercise while in that immobile state of frightened mind. But like I said, nothing intense. Hard at first, then got easier. Wasn't completely feeling that relief feeling but it did help in some weird way. I'd say start of walking for even a week on the tred. Slowly work yourself up to what feels comfortable while still being slightly uncomfortable while giving your body the time to strengthen without going to some extreme. Sorry for the book I just wrote btw. Here if you need to talk <3


Thanks for that. I've come to the conclusion it's just something I need to make myself do, albeit with baby steps first. There's no cure all. No remedy. Nothing other than just DOING IT. And that's the hardest part. Lol

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It really is.. can't tell you how many times I've said the same thing. So much easier said right? It will come to you I promise, it will come faster the harder you try though that's for certain. And trust me, I know you've tried so hard as it is. This really is just an evil "sickness" huh? Keep strong and try to stay positive - still struggling myself so sorry if I don't sound very chipper :( Like I said though, I'm here to talk and bouce things off one another. Help eachother help eachother type of thing.


Same here. It is definitely a sickness and one that I know won't just "go away." I don't take any meds. I prefer to meditate and deep breathe and know my triggers. Largely I've been able to ignore my anxiety symptoms when they happen by just accepting it. Fighting it is a no-no. But I notice they don't last as long if I just accept it and ride it out. I should be thankful the nocturnal panic attacks have largely stopped. Those were absolutely the worst!

Have to just make myself get back to the gym. And if my heart races a bit while I'm working out, then so be it. It'll pass. Here to talk for you too!


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