By Tammy S. Pinkerton
There might be no better way to reduce stress then to take a brisk walk in the park. It is active, easy, and even free. It provides you opportunity, to move fast or slow, stop and start, and notice the woods and trees, as you go.
Depressed and anxious, get off of the computer, hang up the phone, walk outside, breathe deep, and enjoy the change in scenery.
The difficult part of walking, for those who have two working legs, is getting started. That is the challenge for all. However once you experience the mental health benefits, and added benefits to the heart, it becomes much easier to start.
Walking helps increase happiness, because when you walk, you release endorphins, a chemical that helps you improve your mental outlook. When you walk, you send happy cells into the air, and watch depression disappear.
You can see a therapist, a psychiatrist, another treatment provider, but before you lay on the couch, and figure out how you got to be this way, take a walk, it’s healthy, active and free. Plus, walking moves you forward.
It just isn’t easy to walk backwards for any length of time.
Walking doesn’t just help the mind, it helps the body too. When you walk, your bones and muscles become stronger, and you reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes. This means that walking actually helps you live longer.
Living longer and stronger, with a better mental outlook, you can’t beat that, knowing that you can add that bagel and cream cheese later, because walking just helped you reduce the fat.
Haven’t taken a walk in a long time? Begin slow, start with an easy pace, just five or ten minutes a day. Walk three or four times in a week, and you will earn physical and mental benefits too. Then when you have some steps under your feet, add another thirty minutes or so, and walk three or four times in the week.
Fast paced walking can be a real plus, so don’t be afraid to step up the beat when moving the feet. Brisk walking 45 minutes a day, increases the heart rate, and burns fat. If overweight, that’s like devouring a Reuben sandwich without calories.
Find a friend to share the walk. Time speeds up, as you walk and talk, at the same time, breathing heavier, as you go, increasing the benefits to the cardiovascular system.
Do you have a dog? Take him with you. If he is on a leash, he will move at the pace you do. He has to. He is walking with you. The benefits to walking a dog, is many might want to stop and talk with you, or talk with your dog. Either way, you might meet somebody along the way. Or the dog will.
Don’t have a clear path to walk? Are you in the middle of suburban sprawl? Just walk on down to the city hall and complain, give them a word or two, and if nobody listens, just head to the mall. You can always walk there. Just remember the walk was meant to be free, so “buyer beware,” when you walk there.
(Stones like amethyst are also calming.)