How Walking Can Benefit Your Mental Health
The last year has been one of immense challenge. The spread of COVID has resulted in the strict social distancing measures and the disconnection of personal ties that many of us had taken for granted. Thankfully there are some good reasons for hope and optimism.
We’ve come through the toughest months of autumn and winter. And more people are being given the COVID vaccine with each passing day. We can now start looking forward to the kinds of social activities that were key to our mental health before this toughest of years. Take positive steps towards recovery and experience the benefits of walking covered in this blog.
Boosting Your Self-esteem
The very act of setting off on a walk could result in a welcome lift of your self-esteem. You’ll find that your mood brightens as you take each forward stride. The positive physical effects can be enjoyed whether you set off on a 10-mile country hike or a brisk walk around the block. Your stamina and strength will increase; giving you an improved sense of confidence and positive spirit.
If you’re really keen to enjoy the greatest benefit then it would be worth including regular walks as part of your weekly routine. You could set yourself up for WFH (work from home) success by taking a morning walk; giving you the opportunity to take in the natural surroundings and enjoy the spirit-lifting bird-song.
Alleviating Anxiety & Depression
You’re far from alone if you’ve been experiencing the symptoms of anxiety and depression during lockdown. However, you can reduce and keep such symptoms at bay by taking regular exercise. A gentle stroll can help you to gain a sense of clarity and perspective; where you might otherwise have been climbing up the walls. You can increase your sense of connection with the outdoor world; allowing for a gentle wave of calmness, while the subconscious processes any personal issues.
Walking is sure to have a positive effect on all aspects of your personal life. It has been found to increase the levels of personal concentration and focus; speeding up reaction times and enabling improved problem-solving. There are particular benefits for the older generation, many of whom have been severely impacted by COVID. It limits the deterioration of cognitive ability and reduces the risk of dementia.
Helping You To Stay Happy
There’s a fair chance that you’ll be experiencing the symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) having been confined to your home during the months of lockdown. However, you can enjoy the mood-lifting effects of natural sunlight on a refreshing spring-time walk. This will give you the chance to disconnect from the digital devices that you may have been turning to for entertainment and escapism in recent times.
Exposure to sunlight is also known to have a positive impact on sleep. Those taking walks during daylight hours are less likely to experience sleep disturbances. This is particularly true of morning walks, as natural light helps in the regulation of circadian rhythms, priming the hormones for sufficient sleep. Such high-quality sleep will enable you to recharge your batteries and perform at your best through the day.
Providing Essential Support
Walking can be an enjoyable solitary activity. However, you’re more likely to experience the kinds of benefits mentioned in this blog if you take to the paths with friends or family. You will then be able to share in the pleasurable sights and sounds together. You could even give your social-life a boost on walks organised by the Ramblers or Lincolnshire Walking Group.
Of course, walking might not be enough to resolve the most severe of issues. However, you can rely on the support of Phoenix Counselling if you’re struggling to cope. Get in touch for a free consultation and set yourself on the path to a better life.