Community blog post
Today I am handing my blog over to Ellen from Walking Body & Mind, who is going to talk about how walking has really helped her overcome some dark times.
Several months ago, I was at my wit’s end.
I had put on so much weight, I was also finding it hard to cope with work, my mum’s illness and finding time for myself.
When you hear people talk about reaching rock bottom, I was there.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, it was only by reaching rock bottom that the only other way was up.
I took the decision that I needed to sort myself out.
It was when I started looking into incorporating exercise into my day to help me lose weight that I decided the exercise for me was walking.
I knew that if I didn’t fit the exercise into what I was doing on a daily basis that I wouldn’t stick with it. I also knew that I needed to do something to help me cope with the stress I was under.
When anyone is under stress the body can change so much.
It produces hormones that make our pulse go quicker, our muscles tense and our blood pressure rises. This is what is known as the fight or flight response.
However, that’s all very well when this kicks in if you are being chased by an aggressive dog but this can build up over time if we are dealing with stressful things in our life.
That means our body is coping with all these extra hormones causing our bodies to struggle to deal with it.
The coping strategy I came up with was walking.
I can’t begin to explain how much walking has helped me.
I was able to integrate walking into my daily routine.
I walk to a bus stop that is further away, I go out for a brisk walk at lunchtime for 30 minutes, I walk to the train station which takes me 40 minutes where before I would have taken a bus.
I park in the space that is further from the shopping centre, I use the stairs instead of the escalator, I go for long walks on Sunday and take my camera to capture the beauty all around me.
Quite simply, walking has helped me cope with life.
Also, it’s not just me saying this.
Current evidence suggests that physical activity can be useful for reducing symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety.
The research was conducted in Scotland.
They found combined the results of 341 people who showed signs that walking reduced their symptoms of depression.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) currently recommend physical activity as a treatment option for some types of depression.
I also wanted to share with you other ways that walking has helped me cope with the pressures of life.
- Walking helps calm my mind: when I walk, even if it’s for 10 minutes, it helps calm my mood and helps me relieve built up stress. I particularly love this when I go out walking at home when there is a beach and wood nearby. A UK study found that walking through green spaces can put your mind in a meditative state. This is fantastic to reflect on what is going on in your life and to help you make decisions that have been whirling around in your head!
- Fresh air helps relieve stress: spending time outdoors is a great mood booster for me. Again, there are studies that have shown that spending time outdoors is good for relieving stress and improving our memory. It really doesn’t matter what the weather is doing outside you will find me walking in it especially if I’m having a stressful day.
- Walking releases my happy endorphins! When I’m out for a brisk walk there is a point when I can actually feel the release of endorphins, I immediately start to feel better and a smile comes across my face. I’m sure you have heard of runner’s high? Well, this is walker’s high if you ask me!
These are just a few of the ways that walking has had a positive impact on my life.
In fact, I feel it my mission to let others know how great walking is and how it can help you in so many ways. That is why I started my blog Walking Body & Mind.
I have found walking to really help boost my mood, reduce stress and anxiety and help me cope better with all that life has to throw at me.
Studies have shown that the same things that I have found.
In fact, many GPs are now recommending walking for patients suffering from mild depression.
I do hope this has inspired you to consider putting on your trainers and heading out the door and just walk!
About the Author:
Ellen is a blogger at www.walkingbodyandmind.com. She was inspired to set the blog up after taking up walking to help her to lose weight and deal with the daily stresses of life.