The mind’s strength is in exercise, not rest. Modern science has proven that exercise is not just good for your heart but also for your mind.
Among several forms of exercise, walking is probably the best because it is suitable for the vast majority of people. You may already know that exercise improves heart health and reduces the risk of several chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
However, fewer people know that walking can help you reduce stress too. Here is how:
1. It stimulates endorphins production
Walking can prove to be a catalyst for the release of endorphins, the stress-busting neurotransmitters. These hormones are responsible for making a person feel good about themselves. You may have heard this effect as ‘runner’s high’ but walk can also bring about this function.
Studies have shown that a brisk walk can increase the production of endorphins, which reduces the stress hormones. It has been known to alleviate mild depression. In fact, regular walk, by stimulating the release of feel-good hormones, may improve self-esteem and mood.
Does it sound too good to be true? Why not try it yourself? Lace up your walking shoes and go out for a walk.
2. It is a form of meditation
Research shows that walking can move your brain into a calmer state. A UK study indicated that taking a walk in green surroundings can put the brain into a meditative state. The act is known to stimulate ‘involuntary attention,’ a condition that helps retain attention while enabling reflection. It helps reduce stress levels as well.
Walking a few kilometers can help you forget the worries of a hectic day. You can leverage the situation further if you focus only on your body’s movements or your surroundings. Following this routine daily can help you concentrate on your tasks and boost energy and optimism. Evidence has it that this exercise helps you remain clear and calm.
3. It improves mood
Walking improves your mood, helps you relax, and alleviates the symptoms of mild anxiety and depression. It enables you to take a broader perspective and provides you a space for reflection and retrospection. Studies show that walking eases one’s stress levels and inculcates a sense of command over one’s body and life. It has also proven to be good for self-confidence, which eventually has a positive effect on mood.
4. It reduces fatigue and boosts energy
Increased energy and reduced fatigue are enough to lower stress levels. Moreover, low energy and increased fatigue are symptoms of chronic stress, which can be dealt with a few miles of walking. A 2008 study shows that people having sedentary lifestyles experience a noticeable increase in energy levels along with a 65 percent decrease in fatigue after observing several walking routines.
Another study found that a 20-minute regular walk can also reduce fatigue in cancer patients. These patients had moderate to severe fatigue. They underwent a 27 percent reduction in fatigue levels along with a decrease in pain after three months of walking.
5. Walking with friends improve stress resilience
Taking a walk with friends holds even more stress-alleviating benefits. Daily walk as a group activity entails a satisfying experience of developing strong bonds with friends. The social support from family, friends, and community members is associated with improvement in stress resilience. It also decreased the level of stress-inducing hormone, cortisol.
Studies have shown that physical contact with a loved one can reduce cortisol levels and lower blood pressure. Moreover, a walk with friends can be beneficial, especially for adolescents. That is because social interaction can reduce stress responsiveness in them.
6. Improving Sleep Quality
If you are fed up with going to doctors for sleeping pills, you can try this simple technique: walk a few miles daily. While the prescribed medicine may prove to be effective for insomnia, walking is still a better option. The new research shows that walk or any aerobic exercise is a better prescription than sleeping pills. Besides, there are no side effects involved with walking. Not only that, incorporating walk in your daily routine can increase the sleep hours, but it may also improve the quality of sleep.
Article Submitted By Community Writer