Fitness is a great way to boost your mood, but when you’re feeling down, it can be hard, sometimes, to motivate yourself to get up and do any kind of routine. If you’re feeling down, go for a walk.
Walking for Mental Health
Fresh air can clear your head, and fifteen minutes in the sunshine can give you your daily dose of vitamin D, but there is more to the health benefits of walking than those two things. When you’re depressed, anxious, or otherwise struggling with mental health issues, you often get a bit sedentary. This can further complicate things by adding on other health issues, including diabetes and obesity. Physical activity, even a daily walk around the block, can make a difference—not just in helping fend off the physical effects of sitting around, but it can boost your mood, too.
How does fitness boost your mood? Exercising increases the blood circulation to your brain, which, in scientific terms, influences the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This process helps the body to fight off stress.
A slow walk, even for only ten minutes, will help you both physically and mentally. A speedier walk could get your blood pumping and help your brain release feel-good endorphins, for even more of a positivity boost.
The Other Benefits of Walking
Walking is something you can do all year long. Don’t let a chilly or snowy day keep you indoors—wintertime, when you might tend to get cabin fever, is one of the ideal times to get outside and go for a walk (even if you only go around the block). The fresh air will do you good.
It’s especially beneficial to get outdoors for a walk when the sun is shining. Not only do you get a boost of vitamin D, but the sunshine itself might bring a smile to your face (especially during chilly winter days).
Walking is low impact, so it’s a great form of fitness for people of all ages and abilities. Take your time and enjoy all of the sights and sounds of your neighborhood or the park.
Lastly, I find that, when I’m walking alone, I come up with some of my best article, art, and life-coaching ideas. Walking with someone else is a great time for bonding and discussing ideas, interests, and more.