One of the best tips I can give to better health is this: start walking.
It’s as simple as that.
Take the opportunity to walk whenever you get the chance.
Walk to work.
Walk to your favourite restaurant.
Take advantage of this form of exercise when it’s most convenient for you.
Not only is this form of exercise beneficial for you in general, but there are also a number of mental benefits from this form of exercising in particular.
Yes, studies have shown that regular exercise has improved physique and physical health, trimmed waistlines, improve peoples sex lives, and add more years to their lives.
However, these reasons aren’t always the core reasons people get up and exercise let alone start walking.
For me, I started walking for a lot of the mental reasons. These reasons I’ll be explaining below.
You Have More Control Over Your Emotions
Throughout my writing, I’ve mentioned that I go for walks to help me plan out my day. It adds structure and stability to my life to the point that skipping this activity impacts my performance for the rest of the day. While I’ll be touching on that stability aspect in a bit, I want to focus on the emotional aspects.
After all, I don’t really mention them that much.
I’ve been walking — or biking — for most of my life and it’s through those experiences where I’ve gotten some unique benefits. The biggest is the ability to sort with my emotions.
I believe it was walking that helped me during my teenage years when I was suffering from depression. This makes sense when you look at particular studies.
One of note is the study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
They found that walking for an hour every day or running for 15 minutes per day dropped the risk of major depression by 26%.
On top of that, the study — amongst others — showed that individuals could treat mild to moderate depression just by this exercise.
Walking is able to do this because it allows our brain to grow in new ways. Making new activity patterns, boosting neural growth, and reducing inflammation, these are just some of the benefits walking brings.
The continued benefits of these expand to more than just depression. As I suggested, walking these days has inspired new emotions that help me tackle different issues other than depression.
So there are clearly other benefits to walking than just a treatment for depression.
You Manage Stress Better
All work demands a certain level of stress from us. That being said we’re not always the best managers of stress. This much is clear when you consider that stress symptoms are different than how we usually compose ourselves.
Our muscles are tense, especially around shoulders, face, and neck.
We experience muscle cramps or a tighter chest.
You can even experience frequent urination, heartburn, stomachaches, diarrhea, and insomnia.
Stress is a big part of our lives, but one thing that we often forget about when managing is to go for a walk. Exercising overall breaks the cycle that our body goes in when we are stressed. A lot of it goes back to what I said above. When making new pathways, they change how we approach things and how our body reacts as well.
I’ve always said that stress is all In our head and when you consider these facts, it really is. Walking has shown to cause our brain to release endorphins that relax us and relieve tension in our body. It shuts down some of the main contributors to stress.
You Have A Higher Self-Image
Start walking when you get the chance. It’s an investment in not only your body but your mind and soul. When we make a habit of exercising on the regular, we are boosting our own image of ourselves.
True, walking isn’t going to make you into the perfect form of physical health. However, I’d say it’s something that can lead you to your ideal figure. Physically and mentally. It’s for this reason you feel good after any form of exercise. It’s bringing you closer to a figure that you’re deeply happy about.
What’s not to love about that?
You’ll Sleep Better
Sleep — as I’ve stressed before — is important. So anything that helps you sleep better is good In my book.
Now obviously walking before you go to bed isn’t the brightest idea, but walking periodically throughout the day is. Walking in the morning or afternoon can help in regulating our sleep patterns as it allows our body to relax more.
And by entering that relaxed state of mind, we are allowing ourselves to slow down. This is key because what often interrupts our sleep is things that distract us. From blue-light exposure to our own thoughts keeping us awake.
Start Walking If You Want A Better Life
Start walking if you want to be feeling better about yourself. The key here in all this is to get walking as soon as you can. But also at whatever kind of capacity.
This is important because I know not everyone is in my particular situation. Some people struggle to start walking due to stress or exhaustion from other sources. Others feel overwhelmed or are too harsh on themselves when they screw up or something.
Instead of trying to go all out, start with baby steps.
Make a point of exercising when you have the most energy during the day.
Try some of these strategies amongst others to help you get in the mood to start walking. It’s only going to help you.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon