Studies show that even a quick burst of daily exercise can reduce stress. This month is National Walking Month and as a business we are really trying to walk more. Whether that’s taking the dog for a walk at lunchtime, a power-walk down the canal in the sun or getting off the bus a few stops early in the morning – we are all making that extra effort this month and enjoying the benefits!
Next Monday marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week so we thought you could combine the two as we know that walking can help lower stress and increase calm, and here’s a few reasons why:-
- It makes you feel good. Walking and exercise release endorphins which are the “feel good” chemicals your brain produces to lift your mood. These are the hormones in the brain that help alleviate stress. Also, a stronger cardiovascular system lowers the heart rate which builds up the tolerance for emotional and stressful situations.
- You get some well-deserved “head space”. Sometimes we can feel a bit overwhelmed or panicky if we are suffering with stress or anxiety and there might be a lot of thoughts running through your mind or a long “to do” list to tackle. Just 5-10 mins of fresh air and exercise every day can help refresh your mind and provide much needed mental space!
- Walking can help to develop a greater awareness of the body and a greater connection with the body. If you’ve heard the expression “being present” that is just what this is – a reunion of the body and mind which will help us concentrate better and be more in tune with our body’s needs.
- You will sleep better. Walking has been shown as an effective way to improve sleep. If you sleep better, you generally function better. Did you know that when your body is in the REM sleep stage it’s to help your memory and mood? And the “light sleep” stage is important too as it promotes mental and physical restoration!
- It’s a good way to engage in some mindfulness. By paying attention to your body and noticing the things around you it can bring you back to the present world and stop irrational or negative thoughts. What can you hear, smell, see, feel whilst you are walking? Tap into your senses to help decrease levels of tension and elevate your mood.
- Walking can improve self-esteem, confidence and sociability. It’s a great way of connecting with others, have you ever been out walking and noticed people who are walking are generally friendlier?