The benefits of walking regularly go far beyond improved physical health. Although walking can help you lose weight and get in a healthier shape, it has additional emotional benefits you may not realize. One of the biggest benefits of walking on your emotional health is how it can reduce stress.
Natural mood booster
Any type of aerobic exercise has the potential to improve your mood and calm your nerves. Walking every day can help you battle depression and increase your self-esteem. Walking is a healthy, safer alternative to taking sedatives as studies indicate that you can receive calming effects similar to mild tranquilizers from just a 20-minute walk.
Walking and other physical activities are great at lowering stress levels. This is due to the release of endorphins during exercise. Endorphins are chemicals in your brain that stimulate relaxation centers and reduce pain. The more endorphins your brain produces, the calmer and happier you can feel.
You don’t need to power walk, jog or push yourself very hard to enjoy the stress relieving benefits of walking. A casual stroll outside in the fresh air can have the same positive effect on your mood as a faster walk or run. A slower pace is also easier on your body. However, if your goal is to lose weight and stay healthier, you may want to walk a bit faster or try taking on some hills.
To increase the stress-reducing benefits of walking, it’s important to use your mind as well as your body when you walk. When you practice mindful mental exercise such as counting your steps and visualizing those numbers in your mind, you can keep your mind off other factors that stress you out. Directing your thoughts to positive things while you walk and breathing in the air not only lowersstress, but it may also give you the clarity you need to solve whatever problems have been bothering you.
Promote positive self-image
Walking can certainly help improve your physical health when you do it regularly, but it also improves your mental health. As you’re able to reduce your stress and re-familiarize yourself with your own body and everything it’s capable of, you can experience a more positive self-image. When you’re out walking on your own or with your dog, you can step away from the daily stressors that wear you down and make you doubt yourself. Walking can produce great feelings of freedom and empowerment that give you the confidence you need to tackle challenging tasks without stressing.
One of the best benefits of walking is that you can experience its stress-relieving effects on your very first walk. No matter what pace you choose, just getting up and walking can relieve stress and bring you the relaxation you need. Becoming more aware of your own mind and body and the world around you as you walk can be the perfect way to unwind and find inner peace.