Is walking good for anxiety?
Walking can have a positive impact on anxiety levels.1 In particular, walking through natural areas, including woodland and parks, has been seen to offer significant benefits to anxiety levels.2 You may also be interested to know that a reduction in anxiety levels can persist after the walk has concluded, provided that regular walking is something that's kept up longer term.3
Long-distance walking can reduce life stress and general well-being4; however, you don't always need go miles to see at least some benefit to your mental health. In fact, in research a short walk of just ten minutes per day, accompanied by meditation, improved mental state.
How does walking help anxiety?
By now I am sure we've all heard about endorphins. These are the chemicals released when we participate in exercise. Endorphins go on to have a positive impact on mood and may help us feel calmer as a result.
Walking also improves anxiety by the very fact it gets us outdoors. We know that spending time here can be very beneficial for mood; plus, calm, nature-filled areas may help to settle some anxiety.5
Thinking more generally, we know that walking can improve anxiety because it gives something else to think about and focus on. It's even a form of meditation, in its own way, as we begin to focus on rhythmically putting one foot in front of the other.
How can I relax while walking?
To help you relax while walking, you could consider listening to some classical, slow-beat music, or even a meditation podcast.
Becoming more attuned to your body as it walks may also be helpful. So, thinking about how your feet hit the ground or the rhythm of your steps.
If walking itself brings anxiety, ask a friend or someone you trust to come along. Their presence may offer a distraction, plus it may bring a little relief just to talk through what you're experiencing.
If you need a little bit of encouragement to get out in the first place, herbal remedies may offer another way of managing your anxiety levels. Emergency Essence may be one to call on in this instance.
This combination of the flower essences of Cherry Plum, Sweet Chestnut, Clematis, Yarrow, Orange Hawkweed, Rock Rose, Star of Bethlehem, Bluebells and Impatiens provides support during times of anxiety, alarm and distress. It is useful in any crisis situation such as stress, bereavement, accident or fear.
"Great-seems to calm me down if I feel unsettled by something. I always keep it with me."
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Remember, it doesn't have to be a very long walk to start seeing the benefits. If you can walk to the end of the road as a starting point, that's fine! Over time, you may be able to gradually increase your walking distance.