Now, a recent survey reported that about 55 percent of American adults said they experienced stress during most of the day. Furthermore, 45 percent said they worried.
By the way, a recent survey found somewhat similar results. First, nearly 33 percent of those surveyed said they visited a doctor about stress related issues. Also, 33 percent said their job was a regular source of stress. Meanwhile, 52 percent said financial issues were a frequent cause of their stress. Finally, 57 percent said they were paralyzed by the stress.
What do People do When They are Stressed?
- First, they watch movies or television.
- Second, they listen to music.
- Third, they take short nap or simply relax.
- Fourth, they either cook or eat out.
- Also, some read a book, magazine, newspaper, etc.
- In addition, some either take a slow stroll in a park with friends or a brisk power-walk to reduce tension and anxiety.
- Furthermore, some exercise to work off the stress. However, it’s not always possible to do that, such as, when you are work. So, in these situations, have a handy exerciser nearby which you can use subtly.
- Next, some play computer or video games.
- Also, some pursue their favorite hobbies.
- Finally, some drink wine or beer.
What Does Research Show?
Now, studies and research show that walking has significant stress relieving benefits. Some of these results are described here.
- First, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that walking through green spaces in a park shifts your brain into a calmer meditative state. In fact, walking triggers involuntary attention in the brain, meaning that the brain holds attention while at the same time allowing for reflection.
- Second, a study in Psychological Science reported that walking in a park can help improve memory. Indeed, the study, conducted at the University of Michigan, found that walking improves attention and relieves stress. In addition, the study found that walking improves memory performance and attention by up to 20 percent.
- Furthermore, walking outdoors has been shown to improve energy levels.
- Meanwhile, another study was published in Frontiers of Psychology. And, this study found that a twenty-minute stroll, that gets you in touch with nature, will significantly lower your stress levels.
- Next, a recent study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that walking an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26 percent.
- Also, research has shown that walking promotes the release of brain chemicals called endorphins that stimulates relaxation and improves your mood. Most of all, walking does not have to be done at a fast pace to get the stress-relieving benefits. In fact, studies show that even a stroll at a comfortable pace promotes relaxation.
- Finally, a 2008 study reported that individuals with sedentary lifestyles experienced a 20 percent boost in energy and a 65 percent reduction in fatigue after starting out on a walking program.
Benefits of Walking
- First, brisk walking boosts the brain’s feel-good chemicals known as endorphins while reducing the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Second, walking with friends develops strong social bonds. And, these bonds provide stress-relieving benefits. Furthermore, social support from friends, family, and community members have been shown to improve stress resilience by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Most of all, physical contact with a loved one lowers blood pressure and decreases cortisol levels.
- Finally, according to a 16-week study, meditating while walking had the greatest impact on improving mood. By the way, the study involved 135 volunteers divided into five groups. Meanwhile, the different groups walked quickly or slowly. Also, some groups meditated while they walked, while other groups did not meditate.
Now, for their meditation, the walkers simply counted “one, two, one, two” as they walked. Moreover, the meditation was designed to have them focus on their steps instead of thinking about other concerns. Meanwhile, regardless of the speed of their walking, the meditating groups experienced the greatest reduction in stress and most improvements in mood.
Now, walking for fitness or stress relief can be done almost anywhere. Indeed, walking can be done in a shopping mall, on a treadmill, in front of your TV, or preferably in a peaceful outdoor environment. However, find a safe place to walk. Also, if it helps, find a partner to encourage and support each other.
Furthermore, wear shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick flexible soles. Also, when you buy shoes, be sure to walk around the store before you take them home. By the way, it may be a good idea to buy your shoes late in the day when your feet are their largest. Next, it’s good to put on clothes that keep you dry and comfortable.
Now, divide your walk into three periods.
- In the first period, walk slowly to warm up.
- Next, in the second period, increase your speed to a brisk walk. Most of all, walk fast enough to elevate your heart rate while still being able to speak comfortably, concentrate, and breathe without effort.
- Finally, walk slowly to cool down.
Meanwhile, if you have a busy schedule, break up your walk into multiple sessions throughout the day. But, be sure each session is at least 10 minutes long.
Finally, vary your routine. For example, try walking in different places for a change of scenery.