Walking To Eliminate Anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), a group of psychologists studying how exercise helps both anxiety and depression have suggested that a 10-minute walk may have the same benefits as a 45-minute intense workout.

After waking up in a right old panic on Saturday morning after a bad dream, I decided the best thing for me to do was to get up and do something. Therefore, I ended up going for a little stroll. Why? Well, in this post I’d like to explore that a little further and discuss just how walking can help an anxious mind.

I find that it’s even more important now that it’s the Winter time, for me to get outside for a period of time each day. The days feel much shorter as it gets dark by about 4-5 pm here in the UK, and so a little bit of fresh air each day works wonders. To be entirely honest, I am no major fan of exercise despite its benefits, I also have a dodgy knee (I promise that’s the truth!).

Nevertheless, I get that it’s hard to want to do anything when you’re feeling low, stressed or anxious, even more so if it’s not something you enjoy. Please know that I’m not saying that high-intensity exercise doesn’t have its benefits because it does, of course. All I want to stress is the importance of a nice walk. Sounds ridiculous, right? Everyone knows that walking is good for you, it’s been around since way back when.

In the past, when I’ve looked up ways of coping with anxiety, I definitely feel like the main focus has been exercising so many times a week and whilst there are many great benefits, sometimes the pressure and the possibility of not following through can make you feel worse. I know myself this has been the case many a time. If that’s what you’re after then great, but for those of you who hate exercise, know that a long walk can have multiple benefits.

According to ‘The Reader’s Digest’, here are 5 benefits of walking every day for just 15 minutes:

-Boosts your mood.

-Enhances creativity.

-Save money (no need for a gym membership/class fee).

-Longer and better quality of sleep.

-One of the quickest and most effective ways to calm down.

That last point, for me, says it all. I can honestly say that it’s proved true for me, with the stresses and anxieties of University, going for a walk has helped me on many occasions to cool down a little and think a bit clearer. Not only that, but I feel as though I’m putting any excess energy from the overwork of adrenaline into good use.

I’m no psychologist or scientist, but one thing I do know about anxiety is that as cavemen it was what we’d call “fight or flight”. Our bodies would produce all of this adrenaline in order for us to fight whatever danger was in our way or run from it, the same thing happens when we experience anxiety. Therefore when we experience an excessive amount of adrenaline, it’s best that we go and do something with it.

So why am I hyping up walking and not any other form of exercise? I’ve found this to be a big form of outlet personally, as I am able to feel in control and I can pick and choose how intense my walks are, dependant on the day of course. Most importantly, I definitely feel as though walking is a good place to start for anybody.

Whether you’re looking to go further or not, a 20-30 minute walk a couple of times a week can really make the difference. Especially if you’re under a lot of strain at the moment.

Thank you for reading, ciao for now x

Posted by

Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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