Walking: good for the body, great for the soul

It is generally accepted that regular exercise is good for you. It wards off illness by building fitness and reinforces our immune systems - it's good for our heart, muscles, bones and brain.   

It’s quite well documented how walking can benefit your body, but what about your soul -  your psychological elements? Well, exercise also boosts serotonin (the stuff that stabilises anxiety and happiness levels) and gives you your endorphin elated type rush. Walking can also be a sociable activity and is a great way to make new friends or just relax and connect.

Edward O. Wilson’s Biophilia research supports the idea that walking in nature slows down the release of stress-related hormones and our overall anxiety levels and in turn this decreases the chance of illness – physical and psychological. These countryside excursions encourage the stimulation of endorphins, creating a general feeling of contentment and relaxation.

Don’t take my word for it. Recent research, at the University of Kansas, has also suggested that if you walk amid nature you receive an added bonus of a deep-rooted uplifting effect to your wellbeing:

“The “soft fascination” of the natural world appears to refresh the human mind, offering refuge from the cacophony of modern life… Nature is a place where our mind can rest, relax and reduce those threat responses, therefore, we have resources left over  -  to be creative, to be imaginative, to problem solve  - that allows us to be better, happier people who engage in a more productive way with others.”

I love walking. I decide whether I will be quick or slow, or just stand and stare and it really gives me something to look forward to. Check out www.ramblers.org.uk.

May is National Walking Month. National Walking Month is a campaign to promote the benefits of walking and to get everyone walking, no matter what your level of fitness. 

Article by Shane Lutkin. Shane has a master’s degree in Psychotherapy and runs counselling and therapy organisation, Emotionalskills.  Email info@emotionalskills.uk 

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