Walking…some of us do it most of the day. Whether it is walking to your car, walking to your class, or walking to your job, walking is a normal part of everyone’s daily life. But walking is more than just a means to get around it is a great way to get in some cardiovascular exercise. As a matter of fact, just a brisk walk is enough to get your heart rate up and be beneficial to your body, and like other exercises, you can use walking for stress relief.
How can walking help with stress
1. Spending time outdoors can reduce stress
Studies have shown that being outdoors with nature has a way of changing our mood. One study showed that getting outside to talk a walk and look at trees, even in an urban setting, can significantly reduce stress. Nature has been mentioned by many as a popular way to boost our moods and nature walks are used as therapy in communities all over the world.
2.Walking boost endorphins
Like many cardiovascular workouts, walking is a great way to increase your body’s natural endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in our bodies similar to morphine and are often referred to as a “natural high”. This also improves your mood and helps reduce stress.
3. Improves mental sharpness
Like all exercise, walking can increase the blood flow to your brain. A study done at the University of British Columbia showed that regular exercise increases the size of the brain hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memories and emotions, thus improving memory and thinking skills.
4. Walking boost energy and reduces fatigue
You ever felt tired after a long day and didn’t have time for a nap? You should try taking a walk. A study in 2008 showed a significant increase in energy and a reduction in fatigue after following an exercise program centered around walking. I also have noticed a boost in energy when I take an evening stroll outside.
5. Walking can lower your blood pressure
The American Heart Association recommends that we take a brisk walk each day to help lower your blood pressure. A study Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California showed that walking had the same effects of lower your blood pressure as running.
6. Walking and laughing
Making your walk a group activity is a great opportunity to add the extra benefit of laughter. Maybe you and your husband want to lose weight together or you and your girlfriends like to take a stroll. Whoever you choose as your companion, use this opportunity to enjoy each other. Laughter is a great way to take your mind off of stress and improve your mood.
Benefits of Walking
Walking is great for stress and mood improvement but those are not the only benefits of walking. Here is a list of some benefits walking brings, walking helps you to;
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage different conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your balance and coordination
Proper Walking Technique
Before walking remember to do the following:
- Get the right gear. Make sure you choose the proper sure that for your feet with the right arch support. Make sure the heels are firm enough and there is shock absorption. Always wear comfortable clothes that are appropriate for the weather. If you are going to walk at night be sure to wear bright colors or reflective tape to help make you visible to cars.
- Choose your course carefully. If you’ll be walking outdoors, avoid running in areas that have difficult paths such as cracked sidewalks, or streets with potholes where you can become injured. If the weather isn’t appropriate for walking, consider walking somewhere indoors that allows runners such as a shopping mall.
- Warm-up. Warm-up your muscles first by walking slowly for 5 to 10 minutes. I like to march in place.
- Cooldown. Cooldown at the end of your walk like your warm-up by walking slowly for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stretch. After you cool down, gently stretch your muscles. If you’d rather stretch before you walk, remember to warm up first.
Whether it is a stroll down the street with your family or a walk in the park with your dog, making walking a part of your daily routine has great benefits to help you relieve stress. Not only are you helping calm your mood you are doing something great for your heart and teaching your children great habits.
So find a friend, walk with your kids, grab your dog, it doesn’t matter what you do or how long you do it you won’t regret it.
So what do you think? Do you like to walk when you are stressed? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments below. As always any feedback is welcome!