It is always emphasized how important physical activity is for preserving our health. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer, strengthen muscles and bones, and help achieve and maintain healthy body weight. Recently, we have heard more and more about the numerous benefits of physical activity for our emotional and mental health. We researched whether regular exercise, including walking, can improve our mood and make us happy.
To quickly calm down, relax, and fill with positive energy, it is enough to choose the easiest and simplest form of training – walking. Even a quick 15-minute walk can lift your mood and reduce stress. During physical activities, the so-called happy hormones serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine increase and make you feel good.
WALKING IN NATURE
Take a walk in the forest or by the river whenever you have time. Being in nature removes any lousy mood and helps clear your mind. Surrounded by trees and chirping birds, we get rid of negative thoughts. In such an environment, we often get a burst of creative ideas. Sometimes, getting out of the everyday living and working space is necessary to see our problems differently. City noise and various distractions prevent us from seeing the solution to the problem that is often right in front of us.
A short walk in the city park can also help. Especially if you spend most of the day indoors, just being in the fresh air and natural sunlight improves your concentration, and you feel more energetic.
Walking in nature, on city streets, or even in a shopping mall, you will feel the benefits of walking. Research has shown that walking positively affects mental health, even in polluted urban environments. Daily physical activity helps to relieve tension and stress and reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Walking has also been found to improve sleep quality and life satisfaction.
There are countless reasons you should consider walking as a form of relaxation. You will undoubtedly feel more relaxed and positive after a walk than after watching TV. Start walking to work instead of using the car. Instead of sitting in a café, it is better to take a walk with friends. Not only will you save money, but you’ll feel happier.
WALKING FOR EXERCISE
Walking is the most natural form of exercise that is suitable for everyone. For people who have not been physically active for a long time or are overweight, walking is the exercise they should start with. The pressure on the joints and knees is much less than when running, and the risk of injury is minimal. That’s why walking is an excellent choice for the elderly and people with health problems.
Start by choosing a safe walking route and dress comfortably. Try to keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight while walking. Pay attention to your breathing. The speed of breathing should be matched with the speed of walking. Start slowly and increase the speed and duration of walking over time. It is best to set daily and weekly goals, for example, walking 20 minutes five days a week. Once you achieve them, set new goals.
A helpful gadget is a pedometer, which counts steps and miles and can help you stay motivated.
Set a goal and start today. You’ll soon improve your posture and feel more energetic. With each goal achieved, your self-esteem will grow, and with it, a feeling of happiness.
CLOTHES AND SHOES FOR WALKING
Compared to other forms of exercise, walking requires a minimum of equipment. The most important thing is to choose clothes in which you feel comfortable. Depending on the season, it’s a good idea to dress in layers so that some can be removed when you warm up. If you sweat a lot, avoid cotton clothes because they collect sweat, so you can easily catch a cold. It is better to choose a material that contains polypropylene, synthetics, or wool for the first layer of clothing.
Much more attention should be paid to choosing appropriate footwear. The basic rule when buying shoes is that sports shoes should be half to 1 size larger than regular ones because feet swell after a long walk. The walking shoes’ material must be breathable and provide air circulation to keep the feet dry. The soles of walking and running shoes usually have foam that reduces pressure on the foot and provides stability and support. They must be flexible, so you are comfortable even if you walk for hours.
Adequate fluid intake is critical to maintaining our overall health. During increased physical activity, we must increase water intake. Most people find it difficult to follow the fluid intake recommendations of 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. We suggest you always have a bottle of natural water near and drink it even when you don’t feel thirsty. Try to drink more freshly squeezed fruit drinks. They will improve your immunity and give you extra energy.
Reward your body after a long walk. You can easily make Chia Fresca, refreshing water with lemon, honey, and chia seeds. The recipe for this healthy lemonade is here.
To start with this form of recreation, you need nothing but goodwill. Even if you don’t have shoes designed for walking or you’re unable to go out in nature, just put on the most comfortable shoes you own and walk the streets of your city. It’s one of the best, easiest, and completely free things you can do whenever you want to improve your mood.
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