2

votes

How to get over being afraid to exercise?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 26, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Right now I am severely overweight, and recently I've started to have anxiety attacks related to my weight. I've been to the doctor who says my heart is fine but every time I have some kind of chest discomfort - due to overeating, indigestion, or any other reason - it often develops into an anxiety attack.

I've been trying to lose weight more quickly but I know that exercise needs to be a part of that. Every time I try to exercise, however, I start to panic when my heart rate goes up or I feel weakness after working out. Intellectually I know I just need to drink some water or eat a few healthy carbs to deal with the recovery but I just get so nervous.

Has anyone had this experience before and does anyone know how to overcome it?

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on May 27, 2013
at 06:32 PM

My stress levels are pretty high. Haven't done a great job with the diet because of major depressive issues.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on May 27, 2013
at 11:55 AM

Man, foreveryoung, be the stack exchange police! lol. Thought I did upvote it. With 4 kids running around sometimes I forget where my head is. I shall remedy it immediately... ;)

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on May 27, 2013
at 05:03 AM

I know a lot of people in wheel chairs who will be happy to know you will never consider them fully functional.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on May 27, 2013
at 05:02 AM

Yeah, I should have probably said that I walk an hour a day. My fear comes in when I jump to high-intensity activities such as sprints and HIIT.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on May 27, 2013
at 04:28 AM

Stephen Ross gave the right answer. You don't need to raise your heartrate. Slow walking is good. Start with a small daily amount, and track it on gmap pedometers. Start with a half mile. In a month, move to a mile, and so on. As you gain more confidence, it will improve your relationship with exercise.

2edfcc5c8044bbb4f22ba6ea4289f592

(1398)

on May 27, 2013
at 02:01 AM

I was exaggerating about the crossfit. But I also believe that if you can't sprint or lift heavy things up then you aren't a fully functional human.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on May 27, 2013
at 01:53 AM

Agree, but he might want to stop at light cardio (i.e., walking, then light cardio, light weights, and that's all). Maxing out heart rate isn't for everyone.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on May 26, 2013
at 11:36 PM

EFT (aka Tapping) can be useful for this. Check out the free videos at www.tapping.com

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 26, 2013
at 10:44 PM

^ if you second something, then it would only make sense to up vote it while you're leaving a comment, as I have :)

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on May 26, 2013
at 10:30 PM

I second this. You may even want to try walking with a heart rate monitor, keeping your rate under a certain number (ala the Maffetone Method http://philmaffetone.com/180formula.cfm)

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8 Answers

8
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on May 26, 2013
at 10:24 PM

Take some babysteps. Do you get anxiety from walking around the block for 15 minutes once a day in the evenings?

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on May 27, 2013
at 04:28 AM

Stephen Ross gave the right answer. You don't need to raise your heartrate. Slow walking is good. Start with a small daily amount, and track it on gmap pedometers. Start with a half mile. In a month, move to a mile, and so on. As you gain more confidence, it will improve your relationship with exercise.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on May 26, 2013
at 10:30 PM

I second this. You may even want to try walking with a heart rate monitor, keeping your rate under a certain number (ala the Maffetone Method http://philmaffetone.com/180formula.cfm)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 26, 2013
at 10:44 PM

^ if you second something, then it would only make sense to up vote it while you're leaving a comment, as I have :)

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on May 27, 2013
at 11:55 AM

Man, foreveryoung, be the stack exchange police! lol. Thought I did upvote it. With 4 kids running around sometimes I forget where my head is. I shall remedy it immediately... ;)

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on May 27, 2013
at 05:02 AM

Yeah, I should have probably said that I walk an hour a day. My fear comes in when I jump to high-intensity activities such as sprints and HIIT.

2
2edfcc5c8044bbb4f22ba6ea4289f592

(1398)

on May 27, 2013
at 01:02 AM

Stephen Ross is spot on. Start low and progress. Start by walking around your block. Then alternate jogging and walking to get around your block. Then sprint and walk. Sprint and Jog. Soon you'll be crossfitting and climbing mountains. Figure out a logical progression with clear steps, and work at it.

2edfcc5c8044bbb4f22ba6ea4289f592

(1398)

on May 27, 2013
at 02:01 AM

I was exaggerating about the crossfit. But I also believe that if you can't sprint or lift heavy things up then you aren't a fully functional human.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on May 27, 2013
at 01:53 AM

Agree, but he might want to stop at light cardio (i.e., walking, then light cardio, light weights, and that's all). Maxing out heart rate isn't for everyone.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on May 27, 2013
at 05:03 AM

I know a lot of people in wheel chairs who will be happy to know you will never consider them fully functional.

2
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on May 27, 2013
at 12:53 AM

Here's a reasonable alternative: skip it. Get your paleo eating down. Drop a chunk of weight. Real exercise when overweight is orthopedically dubious anyway. When you're excited with the results you're getting, you'll probably find you want to begin some walking. For now, no need. Relax and enjoy paleo.

1
91451db3488201f51e85e6a69a6e0f89

(198)

on May 26, 2013
at 10:39 PM

What sorts of stuff are doing? If you're jumping in with sprint intervals or high-intensity circuits, that's not going to be any good. Have you tried a higher volume of low-intensity movement, like just walking for 30 minutes 6 days a week?

1
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on May 26, 2013
at 10:20 PM

dualhammers, I know exactly what you mean!! my sister and I both have this problem. hers is due to years of Adderall usage which makes her heart rate really loopy and skips beats. she gets very nervous about raising it and has problems breathing. mine is from being in the hospital so much and almost dying last month- I coded during an infusion and had never felt my heart beat so fast in my life. after I got home, I started VERY slowly with just walking for 10 minutes on my street because I was scared i'd have a heart attack. I had 2 ekgs done at the hospital and both were normal. it's just a mental thing for me. I had previously been exercising at a moderate intensity most of the time so I just did small things to start- basic weight training like bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, core exercises. bodyweight exercises bring my heartrate up really quickly so I avoided those until I felt comfortable (push ups, dips, squats). walking helped a lot though and when I was ready, I would climb the hill on my street and then walk back down.

my watch has a heart rate monitor on it so I use that when I feel that I am getting lightheaded. keeping my phone with me at all times gives me peace of mind, too, in case I have to call an ambulance or some one else.

other than that, you just need to dive right in with an exercise you feel comfortable with. doing it at home makes me feel way less nervous than being in public.

0
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on May 27, 2013
at 06:27 AM

Exercise is good but weight loss is 80% the food. Plenty of people exercise a lot and lose no weight. If you want to lose weight eat better and that will get you most of the way.

As for exercise just take a walk each day and make it a bit longer every day - just walk a few blocks first and gradually increase it.

0
5cb72179fcddcee6a6b570dc80269a1a

(78)

on May 27, 2013
at 06:04 AM

Agree with Stephen. Walk. 15 minutes max. Perhaps, after your evening meal.

Most of all, concentrate on what you eat. What you consume will have a greater and faster impact on healing your body than any benefits you might receive from exercise.

Exercise is great and required for long term health, but in your case, it's best to focus on simple things and not rush into anything. Perhaps the anxiety will subside when your weight drops and you feel more in control over your situation.

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 27, 2013
at 05:41 AM

What are your stress levels like? At 3 years in, diet should really have moved those numbers down somewhat. (Are you still cheating with fast food on the weekends and 3000 cal every few days?)

I'd agree that you should avoid the high intensity work for now. How about just stretching / pilates? Or maybe go for two walks a day. I can totally work up a sweat in pilates just holding stupid positions. It looks like badminton and gardening would be pretty chill too, haha.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on May 27, 2013
at 06:32 PM

My stress levels are pretty high. Haven't done a great job with the diet because of major depressive issues.

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