Why Walking Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Photo by  Mike Bowman

Photo by Mike Bowman

Walking leisurely is a most effective exercise to lower stress and cope with anxiety.

Everyone commonly understands working out promotes wellbeing but many believe you must exhaust or punish yourself to benefit, which is untrue. Currently, the word “movement” is in vogue in fitness and I use it too because any form of activity is better than nothing.

But what’s exciting to understand according to multiple studies, you can’t beat a leisurely stroll in nature, which is why I insert into my programs walking multiple times a week, especially when everyone is starting Orientation. The overall benefits of easy walking, especially outside, do more good for you than many if not most other forms of exercise.

Cortisol is both a fat storing and releasing hormone and is blamed widely for causing stress. I don’t want to get too technical but, for those who wish to know in-depth how to lower cortisol, read Jade Tata’s, Hormones and Stress: Cortisol and in particular his points 6 and 7, which is why I too promote enjoyable strolls over aerobic “power” walking.

Normal walking outside in nature is potent physically and mentally and includes stress relieving and mindfulness benefits of relaxation and comfort. Again, Jade explains in Two Changes to Your Walking Will Lower Cortisol Even More and concludes with a sentence I love, “Any walking is perfect”.

I’m obviously a fan of Jade’s but I shared his posts not to steal the man’s work but to emphasize additionally something in my system crucial for new habit formation and retention. Slower, enjoyable walks are an easier, first-effort than any high intensity workout. We do those too, but new habits die young if we don’t start small and take baby steps to break inertia. Easier is better creating new habits.

Walking is THE best way to begin, especially if you’re new to exercise, can’t stick to resolutions, or your anxiety grips you. Just start by strolling in the woods or a field, on the beach, through a park, around a lake and you will, not only be physiologically lowering stress, you’ll also begin instilling a new habit with a simple, manageable and enjoyable first action.

The MusselFIT system combines American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) workout fundamentals with habits science to help our members feel better. Try for free our one-month Orientation to experience how it’s interconnected.

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