How Walking Improves Your Mental Health

Taking care of your physical health is important. Likewise, so is taking care of your mental health. In our everyday lives, it is normal to overlook the importance of our mental health as we get caught up with deadlines and responsibilities. Making the effort to juggle so many things at once adds to our stress and anxiety levels. In such scenarios, it is all the more vital for us to pay close attention to the state of our mental health.

When it comes to taking care of our mental health, we have many go-to methods. For some, it’s watching a good movie, for others, it could be tuning out the world with some good and relaxing music. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at walking as a form of stress relief.

Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) launched the National Steps Challenge where they encourage people to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Doing so will benefit your heart health, mental health, and even lower risks of diabetes. Through sharing a list of ways that walking improves your mental health, we hope to inspire you to walk more often!

Fresh Air

Walking is a way to relieve stress. Getting away from a stressful environment and stepping into a place of fresh air rejuvenates the body and provides you with natural stress relief.

On this note, when you head out for a walk in the open air, you take a break from internal worries and have the opportunity to observe the beautiful world around you. Your surroundings can help you put aside your worries and focus on the present.

Boost Endorphins

Endorphins are your body’s natural happy drug. When exercising, your body releases these chemicals in your brains and which in turn lifts your mood. These feel-good endorphins serve as a natural painkiller. They reduce your sensitivity to stress and may even boost your mood and self-esteem.’

How To Start The Habit

  1. To start the habit of walking, it is good to invest in shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles. Comfortable shoes will help your walking experience feel more enjoyable.
  2. Start slow when you first begin. If you start walking too fast in the beginning, you might be thrown off by how tiring walking can be and this could end up preventing you from adopting the habit. So, start off slow on your first few walks and you can consider gradually increasing your speed if you like!
  3. Vary your walk routes. Switch up the paths you take to enjoy a new and more scenic experience for every walk.
  4. Set goals and reward yourself for your progress. But, instead of rewarding yourself with unhealthy food which may in turn have a negative effect on your mental health, try rewarding yourself with a delicious and healthy meal!
  5. Lastly, keep track of your progress with a walking journal or log. Record down your date, time and distance and see how far you’ve come from when you first started. To do this, you can even use running apps or fitness smartwatches to help you log your progress!

Walking up to 30 minutes a day is a moderate form of physical exercise. Even just walking 10 to 15 minutes daily can vastly improve your physical and mental health. So, be sure to put on your walking shoes and head out!