iStock 1458139571

Do you know the benefits of exercise for PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. It often leads to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and nightmares, disrupting a person's quality of life. While traditional therapies and medications play a crucial role in PTSD treatment, an increasingly recognised and complementary approach is exercise. So, what benefits can exercise have on PTSD treatment? 

Stress Reduction and Mood Enhancement 

Exercise has a remarkable ability to reduce stress and elevate mood. When we engage in physical activity, our bodies release endorphins – the brain's natural "feel-good" chemicals. This surge of endorphins helps counteract the feelings of anxiety and depression that are common among those with PTSD. Regular exercise can lead to improved emotional well-being and an increased ability to cope with stress. 

Distraction and Focus 

Exercise provides a constructive distraction from intrusive thoughts and memories. When individuals engage in physical activities, their minds are often focused on the immediate task at hand, allowing them to temporarily escape the turmoil of PTSD-related thoughts. This respite can be a valuable part of the healing process. 

Improving Sleep Patterns 

Sleep disturbances are a common symptom of PTSD, with nightmares and insomnia frequently affecting those with the condition. Regular exercise can help individuals with PTSD achieve better sleep quality by promoting physical tiredness and improving the body's natural circadian rhythms. 

Enhancing Self-Esteem and Empowerment 

Exercising and achieving fitness goals can boost self-esteem and a sense of empowerment. For individuals with PTSD, this can be transformative. Setting and achieving exercise goals can provide a sense of control over one's body and life, helping to rebuild self-confidence. 

Social Interaction and Support 

Many individuals with PTSD struggle with social isolation, often feeling detached from friends and family. Participating in group-based exercise programs, such as group therapy sessions or fitness classes, can provide an opportunity for social interaction and support. These connections can be vital in the healing process. 


It's important to note that exercise be tailored to each individual's unique needs and circumstances. Our Exercise Physiologists specialise in providing exercise plans for those with PTSD. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD you may be eligible for bulk-billed services through Medicare or the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) funding schemes. 

Speak to your doctor to determine your eligibility for the Medicare or DVA schemes and to obtain the necessary referral.