You may not realize that walking is a natural stress reliever, among other things. Walking does many good things to your body and mind. While walking on your treadmill is good for your health, taking a walk in the great outdoors offers even more.
Why You Need to Get Outside and Walk
Fresh air and sunshine provide many benefits for the human body and mind. Here are 4 things that a brisk (or even a slow and gentle) walk outside can do for you.
1. Give You More Energy
Time outside, in the fresh air, will give you energy. A lot of times, when you're experiencing anxiety and depression, all you need for a boost is a little bit of exercise. Walking doesn't have to be all about a “workout,” though, it can be about enjoying a stroll around your neighborhood. You don't need to think about how many miles you're walking or how long you're walking either – just get outside.
2. Reduce Your Cortisol level
Cortisol is the stress hormone which is secreted as a result of an increase in our stress level (and also during an intense workout; we are going to have another blog post about that - stay tuned!). Chronic high levels of cortisol decrease muscle mass and increase body fat. Being outside in the fresh air and taking a short walk will help you to reduce your Cortisol level and decrease your stress.
3. Help You Clear Your Mind
Fresh air offers one of the best ways to clear your mind. Some people get their best ideas when they're taking a walk in nature. Use time in the outdoors, walking, to clear your thoughts and let some new ideas in.
4. Let You Get Closer to Nature
When you last saw a squirrel chittering in a tree, what was your reaction? You probably smiled. That's because nature makes us happy. There are many things in nature that can make you smile.
You've heard the saying, “stop and smell the flowers.” Well, taking some time to stop and enjoy the scent of a local lilac bush can ease your mind, remind you of happy days of childhood, and even calm your nerves.
Are You Ready to Walk?
Now that you know that walking is a perfect natural stress relief, it's time to prepare for a walk. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes with the right amount of support. Know the area you're walking in (for safety). On hot days, it's important to stay hydrated, so have some water with you. And be prepared to find some relaxation while you stroll along the road or path.
You can walk around your neighborhood or go to a walking path at your local park. No matter where you walk, let it relieve your stress and anxiety by enjoying your time in the fresh air.