8 reasons walking will make you happier and healthierMay 07, 2023
Have you ever stopped to consider what makes you happy? And peaceful?
Despite our best intentions, it’s so easy to get lost in the whirlwind of our day-to-day lives and miss the path to happiness in our push on efforts, or even strive for the wrong things that don’t make us happy. Dragging ourselves to the gym, eating the good stuff but not denying yourself of anything, keeping up to date but reducing screen time, being social but maintaining independence, resting but pushing on… it can be bit exhausting to know what’s right for you.
We know that intensity can be helpful, yet sometimes its good turn off and listen to your own body and mind. Opting for something effective but a little bit less severe could be exactly what you need.
Start to think about the little things that make up your big happy picture. One of those little things, that perhaps may seem too simple, is the power of walking. You heard us right. Walking can make you happier. As the days become more pleasant days and the evenings longer, spring is the perfect time to step out and start walking. Walking can be a solo mindful activity or really sociable, fun activity. Its health and fitness benefits are proven to stay with you right through to later life, so take a walk in the right direction and start enjoying the benefits of regular walking this May.
- Walking Hacks Our Happiness Hormones: Through our bodies there are what we call “happiness hormones” these include endorphins that can make us feel joyful, dopamine, our chemical reward system, serotonin, which contributes to our feelings of happiness and our sense of well-being, and oxytocin, which energies our desire for relationships and collaborations. This mixture of hormones has been showed to fired up when you take a walk. Yep, more walking, more happiness hormones. Simple as that.
- Walking Reduces Our Stress: So many people are in an almost constant state of stress, with heightened levels of cortisol flowing through us which can contribute to anxiety, depression, weight gain, irritability and even insomnia. High intensity exercise has an important role for fitness developments, and for those competitive amongst you your happiness, but it’s not exactly calming for the nervous system. But walking just 10 minutes—especially outdoors in nature— a day significantly reduces cortisol levels and tamps down your stress response. Less stress with fitness.
- Walking Helps Us Combat Depression: The World Health Organisation reports that 5% of adults suffer from depression, and get the help you need is crucial. Seeking the advice of a professional is always the best idea, however studies do confirm that lessening depression can be achieved through moderate-intensity exercise, like a brisk walk. In fact, these studies are showing that physical activity can be a more effective form of treatment than medication alone. Now that’s a reason to do a happy dance/walk!
- Walking Helps Us Process and Focus: A worried mind, a difficult situation or a busy brain can often be hard to work through, but walking can act as a form of meditation. Meditation is not just sitting down legs crossed eyes closed, it can be considered as any act that gives you the time and space needed to process thoughts and settle your mind. It’s a great way to talk to others and has even been shown to help teenagers open. The increased oxygen and blood flow helps you communicate more clearly and listen more carefully. Less worrying and more understanding, particularly with those around us, leads to a better mood. When you’re feeling like your mind is all over the place, the act of your feet hitting the ground stimulates blood flow, sending oxygen to your brain, which in turn gives you the ability to focus better. The increase in connectivity and coordination of important brain systems improves your cognitive function. More focus leads to more productivity and a sense of accomplishment, which leads to a happier mood.
- Walking Increases Our Energy: The act of walking fires up the body’s circulation, bringing blood flow, oxygen, and glucose to all your muscles and organs. The effect is more energy. As you are able to walk further or faster, so your endurance, strength and general cardiovascular ability improves. Thus, increasing your potential energy availability. In fact, one study showed that a walk could be as powerful an energy booster as a shot of espresso. And more energy leads to more opportunities to get happy.
- Walking Helps with Sleep: Ever spent time with a cranky toddler whose missed their nap? Sleep deprivation can bring out the cranky toddler in all of us. But walking can assist you in getting the rest you need. A gentle walk does this my relaxing your mind, winding you down for the night with a calm and contented mind certainly makes it easier to fall and stay asleep. Additionally, regular walking helps your body know when it’s time to be active, and when it's time to settle in for rest. The National Sleep Foundation, noted that the rise in body temperature when you walk sends a signal to our brain to decrease our body temperature later in the day, promoting sleep. Say hello to a more rested and happy you!
- Walking Gives Us a Sense of Accomplishment: It feels good to give yourself a pat on the back, and getting out for a walk and moving toward a better you give you just the reason to do that! We are all wired to crave and love accomplishment. Completing a walk gives you a sense of satisfaction, especially when you track your walks and see those miles add up. Here’s to a happy high five!
- Walking is Good for Heart Health and Weight Management: High body fat is a major risk factor for heart disease. Carrying too much weight can put extra stress on your heart, increase the risk of narrowed coronary arteries, and affect your heart rhythm. Increases in body fat can also lead to increases in the volume of blood in your body. This can cause your heart to beat harder to circulate that blood. So how you combat it? Exercise is one health smart way.
Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible yet overlooked forms of exercise. Whether you are by the coast, in the town or plodding about at home, it all counts. Cheap and easy to pace, it is a super adaptable way to introduce exercise into your life. Just a little bit of walking into your daily routine can help you to maintain a healthy weight and keep you strong and well. If looking to loose body fat, reports show that 30 minutes of walking can burn 100-200 calories whilst also toning and strengthening your muscles.
If you feel that you have any physical limitations or concerns about taking a step to increasing your walk. Come chat to us. Let get you going.
and the HealthHub Team
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Use our HealthHub MOT to give you all the answers and tools you need to maximise your potential, whatever your stage or season of life. You’ve only got one fabulous life. Now what are you going to do with it?
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