Stress Relief With Walking
You see, emotional stress can put a large toll on your mind and body. People often don’t realize how much stress can affect everything from their mental health to the food choices they make, their digestion, and their overall health. It is important to be aware of the stress you are living with. Once you realize the stress, take a breath and without adding more stress, decide what options you have within you to reduce it and walking might be one of the options for you.
Check Out Some Possible Options To Relieve Stress By Walking
Walk More Outdoors
Our first tip for using walking to help relieve your stress is to walk outdoors. This can be going on a hike, walking by the beach or around a local lake, taking your dogs for a walk in your neighborhood, or walking to a nearby festival or farmer’s market. Just try to get outside and do some walking.
In 2018, I walked about 3 Million Steps and most of those steps were outside. Getting outside is a great thing to do for your mind, body and soul. Walking outdoors will help improve your mood and this alone helps reduce stress and if you can walk in the morning it not only feels good, but it helps with your sleep at night.
“Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” she says, especially when you're going for a stroll through some greenery or soaking in a bit of sunlight. This can be particularly helpful during the colder months, when seasonal depression spikes.
Take it Easy
Use walking as a form of self-care and a way to relax, not as your main form of fitness. If your walking routine is a rigorous speed-walking workout, it isn’t going to help you relax much. People often become almost obsessed with their fitness routine early on, even if you are just walking. This can lead to many unnecessary challenges you might not want to experience, like walking longer and harder than you intended, and instead of helping with your stress, making it worse.
I noticed early on in my walking that this was me. Now to be clear your walking speed can tell how fast your aging (go here for more info on this topic: https://www.health.com/fitness/walking-speed-premature-aging) and this is not what we are talking about with this tip. For me it was about noticing that my speed was an indicator of my level of stress that day and when I allowed myself to notice this and simply slow down slightly my walk for that day was far less stressful.
Allow yourself to stop thinking about walking as a form of fitness or a way to lose weight, and instead enjoy your time walking as a form of self-care that is meant to help you relieve stress.
Use Breathing Exercises
You can also do breathing exercises and mindfulness as you are walking. Many people find that their walking routine becomes like a short therapy session, where they are able to clear their mind and be present in the moment. It is like a form of meditation, where you really focus more on being mindful during the entire experience.
For breathing exercises, it is really easy to do while you are walking. What you want to do is focus only on your breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly, paying attention to how you feel and what you hear every time your intake a breath. This helps to relax you while you are walking and can get you into a meditative head space.
“As you walk, time your breathing to your steps.” (How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy – Paul Chek) Breath in for the count of 4 steps, hold breathe for the count of 1 step and breathe out for the count of 4 steps. Allow yourself to get in the rhythm of your breathing as you walk.
Use Walking as Your Form of Self-Care
As we mentioned before, think about walking as a way to practice joy in the self-care. Walking helps to release endorphins and is amazing for your mental health as much as your physical health. Walking every day for at least a few minutes, whether you prefer walking alone or with friends or family is a wonderful way to relieve stress.
We enjoy getting out in the neighbourhood for quick morning walks however getting out on the hiking trails really makes our heart sing and brings joy to our lives.
Share the places you enjoy walking to relieve stress.
Get in touch with us if you have any questions and if we can help you.
We have outsourced our lifestyle for way too long!