Burnout is highly prevalent nowadays. The American Psychological Association reports
that 79% of adults experience stress and burnout. Work is the main reason behind this, with
many saying that they’ve experienced feelings of exhaustion, mental distance from their job,
and feelings of pessimism. If left unaddressed, burnout can manifest in a person’s
health such as fatigue, insomnia, and even depression.
Fortunately, there are certain measures that adults can take to prevent being burnt out. One
of these is by exercising and we will discuss several reasons why below:
Exercise Increases Motivation
When you’re burnt out, there’s not enough dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is the
endorphin is linked to motivation, which helps you focus and overcome challenges.
Incidentally, exercise can help aid in this. While you may think that it will only make you more
exhausted after, there’s something called “runner’s high”. It’s a term to describe the
euphoric state that a person falls into after performing physical activity. This is due to the
release of endorphins including dopamine.
Healthcare workers, in particular, are susceptible to burnout due to the nature of their busy
careers with physicians being 15 times more likely to experience burnout than any other
working professionals. Wheel notes how some physicians prevent burnout by picking an
exercise routine that motivates them. For some, this includes surfboard workouts, boxing
classes, and strength training. The key is to find something that gets you excited to move
your body so you’ll always look forward to doing it.
It Lessens Anxiety
A study on burnout and anxiety in Frontiers in Psychology concluded that individuals
experiencing higher anxiety levels are more likely to develop burnout. They found that 59%
of individuals who have been diagnosed with burnout were also diagnosed with an anxiety
disorder. This is because they are experiencing high anxiety due to factors like job demands,
overexertion, and over-commitment. As a result, they get burnt out from attending to all
these matters at once.
Exercise can help lessen anxiety because it helps decrease tension and refocuses the mind.
The Mayo Clinic found that 30 minutes of exercise a day for three to five days a week can
significantly improve anxiety symptoms. This is because exercise releases feel-good
endorphins that counteract epinephrine and other stress hormones caused by anxiety. If
anxiety is one of the root causes of a person’s burnout then exercise is one of the best ways a
person can treat themselves before seeing a specialist. Even a little bit of walking can do a
lot to decrease anxiety.
Exercise Improves Mood
Negative feelings such as being overwhelmed, mentally exhausted, and a lack of motivation
are the telltale signs of oncoming burnout. Exercise can help diminish these feelings and
improve your mood. This is because of the chemicals released by the brain in association
with physical activity, such as serotonin. It’s a mood stabilizer that boosts your mood and
behavior, allowing you to feel calmer and happier.
Teachers can easily suffer burnout and get mentally exhausted and overwhelmed because
of the many tasks they handle. This is why school teachers at Arcadia High School engage
in exercise through yoga classes in order to specifically combat burnout. The school hired a
yoga instructor to guide teachers, allowing them to squeeze in some physical activity to
boost their mood. Another component was that teachers learned breathing exercises that
calmed their minds, which in turn reduced the chance of them feeling overwhelmed and burnt
It Promotes Better Sleep
A lack of sleep is one of the major symptoms of burnout. with one study, featuring 1,300
employees of a financial company (a key industry for burnout), finding that job strain
represents a burnout risk factor only if associated with insomnia. This demonstrates how
vital sleep is to not only a person’s health but their ability to function at work. Exercise has
been proven to help with sleep with the Sleep Foundation noting that out of two groups one
that exercised three times per week and one that exercised once a week, the latter was
more likely to sleep less than 6 hours and experience insomnia.
To prevent the negative effects of burnout, make sure to incorporate exercise into your
routine. Even something as simple as taking walks is enough for the body to experience
physical activity. If you prefer to perform workouts at home, check out our article on How to Burn 1500 Calories.