The answer in a nutshell is simply yes. Exercise can reduce social anxiety and alleviate shyness. If this seems a bit farfetched to you, it is important that you read this enlightening article to see how exercise could be the miracle cure that could help you kiss your shyness goodbye.
Exercise functions through a variety of mechanism. For starters, the immediate boost of endorphins, the feel-good hormone that your body naturally produces, can cause a modest increase in happiness and self-esteem. When you feel better about yourself, you are more likely to meet the world with a smile and with a lot less anxiety. This effect is also related to the well-known, popular, stress –relieving effect of exercise. When you are less stressed you experience less anxiety, even in social situations.
Another, not-so-direct, way that exercise could reduce your shyness and social anxiety is through making more friends. If you choose a team, or even a competition, sport that you used to play and enjoy as a child you are very likely to make friends with people you play with. And even having a few casual acquaintances will help you relax whenever you experience a bout of shyness: you are more likely to “run into them” somewhere in your community or meet up with them making you feel less lonely and shy. Shy people generally benefit from having as many friends as possible since their social anxiety is mainly triggered by strangers or unfamiliar situations. If competition or team sports are not your thing, exercise still has something to offer!
If you join your local gym, YMCA or YWCA, or even jog regularly in the local park, you are bound to make some exercise buddies. A few polite smiles here and there to people that you repeatedly encounter when you go on your morning walk could develop into friendships when given a chance. In essence, you should use exercise as an opportunity to overcome your shyness—try not to buy a treadmill, and make your exercise sessions a socially isolating experience.
Last but not least, regular exercise will do wonders to your shape. A thinner waistline and more toned muscles can sometimes can a significant boost in self-esteem. This newly found confidence usually helps shy and socially anxious people be more daring and adventurous in their social feats. And more going out means making more friends and consequently being less shy.