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Incorporating Walking Can Help Combat Stress 

April 03, 20233 min read

If you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I want you to know you're not alone.

A survey by the American Psychological Association found that stress impacts the day-to-day functioning of many adults.  In fact, 27% of respondents said they feel so stressed that they can't function most days. Even more concerning, around 76% of adults reported experiencing health issues due to stress in the prior month, including headache (38%), fatigue (35%), feeling nervous or anxious (34%), and/or feeling depressed or sad (33%). 

8 Reasons

Our modern-day busyness can often leave us feeling like we don't have time to tend to our thoughts, emotions, and self-care. Instead, we put those essential aspects of our well-being on the back burner and turn to activities like watching TV or scrolling through social media as a way to decompress.

Do you have stress?

Listen to what your body is telling you.  Our bodies often bear the brunt of stress, and we tend to ignore the signals they're sending us while under stress such as:

  • Mood changes, including anxiety, restlessness

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed

  • Difficulty focusing and completing tasks

  • Headache and muscle tension or pain, including neck pain

  • Chest pain

  • Fatigue and exhaustion

  • Changes in sex drive

  • Upset stomach

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Increased substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol 

  • Smoking or increased smoking habits

  • Angry outbursts

  • Opting out of social engagements

  • Overeating, or underrating

  • Reacting not responding

What if we made time for activities that nourish our minds and destress our bodies, like stretching or walking outside?

Research has shown that even a short walk can have significant stress-reducing benefits.

When we engage in physical activity, our brains release endorphins - natural chemicals that act as painkillers and mood elevators - which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

A woman stretching looking at the mountains

Additionally, walking in nature has been shown to have a calming effect on the mind, as exposure to green spaces has been linked to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

One study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that taking a 10-minute walk during the workday was associated with improved mood, reduced tension, and increased energy levels among participants.

Walking = More energy and less stress!

While the research may vary in terms of the duration or setting of the walk, the overall message is clear: taking a short walk can be a simple and effective way to reduce stress and improve our mental and physical well-being.

You don't need a gym membership or set lofty goals to move your body and feel the benefits of reduced stress.

A short brisk walk can do wonders for your mental and physical health.

Take a few minutes to head outside and breathe in the fresh air. If you're pressed for time, you can also try standing up and doing some simple stretches like reaching for your toes or rolling your shoulders.

Incorporating some movement into your day, even in small ways, gives our minds and bodies a much-needed stress-reducing boost.

And remember, you don't have to be a fitness expert or hit the gym to be an "exerciser" - we all can find ways to move our body and feel the benefits of reduced stress.

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