Walking To Relieve Stress: A More In-Depth Analysis

Walking To Relieve Stress: A More In-Depth Analysis

I wrote a post a while back about exercising to relieve stress, and only recently did I realise how much more in depth I could be about the most basic and widely done form of exercising; walking.

If you think about it, we’re walking all the time; when we get out of bed, we have to walk to the bathroom to clean our teeth and comb our hair, then walk to the kitchen to make a drink and some breakfast, before finally walking back to where we need to go (in my case, to my computer because I’m a huge nerd).

As walking can be classed as an exercise, we are basically exercising each and every day without even knowing it. In order for us to maintain a healthy body, and for the maximum efficiency of relieving stress, we need to strive to exercise for about 30 minutes to an hour every day, and with walking, this should be easily achieved for those who are able to.

But how does walking truly relieve stress? Is there such a thing as the best place to walk for maximum stress relief? And are there any alternatives to walking that are just as simple and effective, even for those who can’t walk as well as others? Hopefully, this post will have the answers.

 

How Does Walking Relieve Stress?

 

Walking, or exercising in general, gets our hearts pumping faster and our blood to navigate around our bodies quicker, but how exactly does all of this relieve stress? Well, it simply has something to do with what our bodies release while exercising.

All the while we are exercising, our bodies, more specifically our squishy little brains, are releasing feel-good chemicals called endorphins. As well as making us feel good and positive about ourselves, these chemicals act as natural pain killers and can also play a part in helping us sleep better.

This simple release of these natural and highly beneficial chemicals is exactly why exercising is one of the best methods to relieve stress; it never fails to soothe us, and we should all strive to regularly do this each and every day, whether you’re currently suffering from stress or any other mental strain or not.

 

Where Are The Best Places To Walk?

 

So, we’ve learnt how walking can actually relieve stress, but does a specific area where we walk make a difference to the effectiveness of the stress relief, say for example through a forest or in the middle of a field?

The Japanese have a practice called “forest bathing” – made a part of a national public health program in 1982 as it was promoted as a form of therapy – which is basically being in the presence of a lot of trees, and there have been successfully proven scientific studies which showed that being in the midst of trees boosts the immune system, improves your mental state, and most importantly relieves stress.

With this in mind, it would seem as a forest – or at least a place with loads of trees around – is perhaps the greatest place to walk as it would relieve a lot of stress, and contains a lot of other health benefits too.

Basically, if there is any area to walk through where you will be able to relieve the most stress, I would easily recommend you to trek through a natural place such as a forest or out in the countryside rather than around the block inside a city; for starters, all the bleak buildings around you can easily bring you down while the trees and animals out in the natural countryside can turn a bleak attitude upside down almost immediately.

 

What Are The Alternatives To Walking That Can We Do Instead?

 

If walking isn’t your cup of tea (or coffee depending on your preferred hot beverage), there are many other kinds of exercises and non-exercise alternatives to relieving stress that you can take some time out into doing.

Exercise:

  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Weight Lifting
  • Dancing
  • Rowing
  • Play an Active Video Game (Kinect, PlayStation Move, Wii, VR)

Non-Exercise:

  • Listening to Music/Noise Machine
  • Writing
  • Drawing
  • Reading
  • Watching TV
  • Playing Video Game (Non-Active/Couch or Chair Gaming)
  • Play With Stress Toy
  • Take Natural Stress Relief Supplement
  • Have a Bath/Shower to Clear Thoughts or Relax
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep

 

What About For People Who Can’t Move As Well As Others?

 

Of course, we cannot ignore those who are sadly unable to walk, but that doesn’t mean that all is lost. There are of course a handful more ways to relieve stress which doesn’t consist of using your legs that much, and hopefully there should be a method on here that you are comfortable to do without facing any hassle.

There are plenty of exercises which don’t require the use of your legs. For example rowing and weight lifting with dumbbells require you to use your hands and arms rather than your legs. Furthermore, there are yoga positions which don’t require use of your legs too, such as “corpse” which basically consists of you lying down with your palms up and relaxing.

Additionally, you can partake in a non-exercising stress relief method if you don’t feel like exercising in your free time. It certainly doesn’t take your legs to do any of the non-exercising activities I have listed above, so they should be a-okay for you to do.

 

Conclusion

 

And that marks the end of this post. Hopefully, I have spoken enough about walking, and have gone as in-depth as possible about how it can relieve stress and what the best places to walk are.

For those who are able to walk without assistance, we should all strive to do at least an hour’s amount of walking each day in order to maintain our body’s health and to keep as fit as possible.

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