Being a victim or witnessing a horrific accident or personal assault can leave you shocked and scarred. Sometimes, these conditions last for months and years with memories of the traumatic incident triggering intense emotional and physical responses. This is known as post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. It is a fairly common anxiety syndrome and can be treated in a number of ways including drugs, exercise and psychotherapy. However, this treatment aims only to control the disorder and there is no known cure for PTSD as yet.
Exercise not only keeps the body fit, but also helps the body release endorphins. Endorphins help fight stress, fear and pain. Thus, exercising helps focus on the body and its movements instead of your fears. It can also help elevate the mood of a person. Low to moderate intensity exercising is ideal for a PTSD patient. Aerobics, pilates, yoga or martial arts like tai chi are known to be effective ways of reducing stress and anxiety in PTSD patients. Breathing exercises like pranayama can also help calm and relax the mind.
Exercise for a PTSD patient should be planned in repetitive sets. This enables the person to slowly master the type of exercise being done and regain control and confidence in himself. It also needs to be predictable so as to avoid triggering a PTSD emotional or physical response. Non competitive exercises are better than competitive exercises as it does not create an opportunity for the person to feel stressed. Exercising and practicing breathing techniques can also help a person analyze himself and his response to stressful situations. By understanding their reactions, a person can slowly bring about changes to handle stress in a better way.
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