You want to exercise but you want to have fun doing it.
All of the research shows that exercise is important not just for your physical health but your mental health as well.
Nevertheless, a lot of the exercise programs recommended seem really intense, and you may be concerned about getting hurt. Preventing injury while exercising is important to keep a consistent daily program.
Would you believe that walking, even for short distances, can make a big difference in your mental health?
Yes, it’s true!
Walking especially in nature can actually have big health benefits. How?
WALKING FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Can you spare twelve minutes? That’s all the time you need in order to boost your mental health and to feel clear and productive.
Researchers tell us that walking for twelve minutes daily has positive benefits. You feel more self-confident and attentive to what’s happening around you. Plus, you are happier and have more energy.
Also, if you combine walking with nature, you get even more benefits. This includes utilizing less mental energy thinking about negative things. Letting go of negative thoughts and embracing positive thinking while you walk can be a great start to your day.
Local parks offer a variety of walking trails that display the beauty of New Milford. Baldwin Park offers a refreshing walk through the trails with your dog. Lover’s Leap shows off the amazing views from the top of the mountain looking over the lake. Harrybrooke Park offers a peaceful walk along a paved road without dogs. It’s a great place to start your walking program.
Feeling Stressed? Try Nature Walking!
Research has found that walking for just ten minutes has the same benefits as a forty-five-minute workout when it comes to dealing with anxiety or depression. If you are struggling with either, walking in nature can be a great tool to manage these conditions. Researchers in Canada found increasing your awareness of nature or anything not man-made in short intervals increased feelings of connectedness with others and study participants experienced increased feelings of happiness. Just paying attention to your natural surroundings is reported to enhance mental wellness. If you have a moment when you feel overwhelmed or are experiencing negative thoughts, a quick walk will have amazing positive benefits to brain health. Fun fact, the researchers found that walking actually boosted creativity by 60%. Therefore, if you feel like you are experiencing a mental block, the science says that you should step away and go for a walk.
This is great news as walking is something free you can use without needing to book a therapy appointment or take a pill. Instead, it’s an activity that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Set goals and track your progress. It can be fun to watch your health improve with a daily walking routine.
Ways to Augment Your Walking
Research about the link between walking for short distances and your mental health is really exciting. However, it’s important that you keep certain things in mind so you can get the most benefit from walking.
- Build into your schedule a short walk before or after work. This helps you to get into the habit of walking. Once you start, you may not want to stop.
- Walk with a buddy: Walking with someone reinforces the connection with another person. It also is a great time to talk—about serious and not so serious things.
- Get a Fit Bit or app on your phone: Some apps have distance tracking and calories burned, reminders for you to get up and move when you’ve been still for long periods of time. Azumio Inc. has an app called LIFECOIN this app offers rewards for all your outdoor steps.
It’s easy to forget that the simplest actions can have really great benefits. Walking is pretty much as simple as they come. Yet, research shows that even such a simple act as walking for short distances in nature can improve your mental health, and thus, your enjoyment of life!