Caring for someone with PTSD: How can Exercise Help?


Before caring for someone with PTSD it is paramount to first understand what exactly Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is. If someone close to you is suffering from PTSD this could also affect you and others surrounding that person. The symptoms are no easy to live with and the effects of the disorder can be very scary. This disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder, and it is developed after a person is exposed to a traumatic event. These could be sexual assault, warfare, serious injury, or threats of imminent death. Plenty of people that have experienced a traumatizing event will not develop PTSD, but there are a percentage of people that can develop the symptoms. War veterans are the most common at risk for PTSD.

 One of the main and first things that you must understand is that when you are caring for someone with PTSD, you will also need to take care of yourself.  This disorder can take a considerable toll on the sufferer’s family and loved ones. It is fairly common for them to experience heavy difficulties in their relationships. It can be hard to understand your loved one’s behavior, they might be less affectionate and have a more volatile temper. They might even appear to be a complete stranger. But you must always keep in mind that, there are ways to provide support and that you are not helpless. Your support can make a huge difference in their recovery. With time, they can go back to normal, however it is a gradual process.

Recent Studies have demonstrated that exercise and physical activities can bring considerable benefits for people dealing with anxiety disorders. Physical activity, alongside emotional support, can help reduce the symptoms of PTSD. This disorder can have a deep impact to the physical state of the person who suffers from it, as it can affect their self esteem and their sleeping patterns, making them become more sedentary, with a heavy lacking of motivation to be active. Recently, two separate studies have looked into the potential benefits of exercise regimens in the treatment of PSTD. In one of those studies, patients with PTSD with a steady exercise regimen started showing considerable reduced levels of anxiety after just one month of exercising. The other study, a more recent one by the University of West Florida, confirmed the positive results obtained in the previous research and went further to confirm that it help people with anxiety disorders be able to deal with their issues and make breakthroughs earlier than patients with only psychological treatment.

If you are caring for someone with PTSD and would like to implement physical activities and exercise in their daily lives, you need to first know that they might be reluctant to the idea at first. Like you might already know, the first thing that is recommended is for you to be patient and not pressure them into it. The idea of exercise can take a bit to settle in. Once they accept, it is recommended that they start small. Aerobic exercise, with the help of an Aerobic Leg Exerciser for example, can stimulate the brain’s release of endorphins. These are natural chemicals that cause for feelings of “well-being” and joy. It also helps reduce the chemicals in the body that heighten the feelings of anxiety and depression.

Furthermore, vigorous and strenuous exercise, like weight training with dumbbells, also helps tire the body, so much so that people with anxiety disorders are able to fall asleep naturally. Covering one of the major issues that people with PTSD face every day.

The battle against anxiety and depression requires patience and understanding. At first you might not be able to comprehend what is going on with your loved one, but if you educate yourself, you will understand that it is a matter of time, love and determination. Caring for someone with PTSD is not an easy task, but there is hope that the person will soon be well. And one of the major benefits of doing physical activities and exercise it is something that you both can do together. It can eventually rebuild bonds that you once thought were broken.