Walk Talk Series
Day 60 – Walking Reduces Stress and Improves Mood
Affirmation of the Day
I am a safe, competent and skillful person. I handle any situation, no matter how small or how difficult, that arises.
Has your mood improved since you took up walking? Has walking helped you to cope with stress better?
- 45-75 minute walk in the healthy heart zone 50-60% of your maximum heart rate
- Warm up with 5 minutes at a very easy pace
- Find a safe spot with a wall or pole to do a 5 minute easy stretching routine
- Now resume your walk at a comfortable pace
- End with 5 minutes of gentle stretching
Walking For Your Mind and Spirit
Walking and exercise has benefits beyond the merely physical. Many people walk as much for mental and spiritual well-being as for fitness.
For many, walking can make you happy, help you deal with life’s stresses, help you to work through relationship problems, lead you to a deeper spiritual life?
This is Your Brain on Walking
Exercise, such as walking, increases the blood flow to the brain. A 1999 study of people over 60 found that walking 45 minutes a day at 16-minute mile pace increased the thinking skills of those over 60. The participants started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that the same people were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program. Get smart – get walking.
Walking and other exercise leads to the release of the body’s natural happy drugs – endorphins. Walkers who walk at a higher heart rate will notice this effect more than those who walk at a slower heart rate pace. But even at a slower pace, most people notice an improvement in mood.
Many physicians recommend adding regular walking and exercise as a natural treatment to relieve a bout of depression. The cause of depression is related to brain chemistry. By getting your brain to release more of the happy chemicals – the endorphins – you achieve naturally what many prescription drugs and herbs try to do artificially.
Walking can help relieve stress. A Nov. 9, 1999 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly had lower stress levels than couch potatoes or those who exercised strenuously.
Walking gives you time to think. Getting out of the stressful environment, breathing the air and feeling your body move is natural stress-relief. Many people carry stress by tensing their muscles. By getting into your correct walking posture and form, you un-knot those muscles and put them to work.