Surprising Ways That Walking Impacts Your Mental Health
We’ve all heard about the benefits of spending more time outside. Whether you consider yourself an outdoorsy person or not, more and more people are discovering that walking is a fantastic way to get into the natural world, explore your surroundings and learn a lot about your mental health!
During 2020, we all saw the importance of getting outside and over 63% of us took up some kind of physical outdoor activity, from walking, to running, to cycling and to all kinds of other interesting activities!
We sure know that we can’t get enough of the great outdoors so thought that we would share with you today just some of the incredible benefits that walking can have on your body, emotions and mental health.
Here are just a few of our favourite benefits of walking and ways you can get the most out of walking, no matter what time of year!
Satisfy your ‘thirst for adventure’
Discovering new places you’ve never seen before is one of the most exciting parts of life and one of the biggest reasons people go travelling around the world.
Studies have shown that discovering new places releases endorphins (your feel good hormones) as well as a number of other mental health benefits. But contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be jet setting off to uncharted lands to discover some real natural beauty spots right outside your door!
In the UK, we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by countryside almost anywhere you go. In fact, did you know just 6% of the UK is classed as being ‘built on’?! Despite having all this nature, greenland and farmland around us, we almost guarantee there will be nearby beauty spots you’ve never even thought of visiting in the nearest town or village to you….Today is the day that changes!
Just doing a quick google search for terms like ‘Hidden walks near me’ or ‘Best beauty spots’ will provide you with a whole host of local spots to check out on your next walk!
Keep the endorphins flowing!
Much like exploring new places, walking is a great way to release endorphins without having to head to the gym. Endorphins leave us feeling great and give us that ‘you’ve achieved something today’ feeling.
With so much of our lives now being spent at home, for work, family, sleeping, eating and pretty much everything else, a change in surroundings is sometimes all your body and mind need to reset. Our bodies are made to move and walking can be a fantastic way to leave your troubles and stresses at home and just focus on you, your mental state and your relationship with the great outdoors.
In many cases, if you decide to head outside in a hilly area, the steep hills can actually be more of a workout than you realise and will find yourself burning calories, toning your muscles and making your heart beat faster!
For the real adventurous out there, why not give nordic walking a go!
Walking in the winter!
Winter is an interesting time for walkers, a lot of people very much follow the ‘I only walk in nice weather’ approach, which is fine, but we believe that winter is actually one of the most picturesque and fun times to walk!
Just because the weather might not be so warm and the days are a little shorter, all you need is a little more prep!
Firstly, instead of walking in the evenings or mornings, try walking around midday. Walking during your lunch break not only gives you a great excuse to step away from the screen and get some fresh air, but also gives you the perfect opportunity to catch the shorter windows of light that you have and soak up whatever Vitamin D you can!
Likewise, if the cold is what is putting you off, it’s time to invest in a REAL winter jacket! The main reason people get cold is because you either haven’t layered up properly or your coat isn’t properly insulated to keeping your body heat in! Insulated jackets come in all shapes, colours and sizes and will give you the perfect starting point for keeping warm during winter walks!
Spend more time with the loved ones
Walking with family or friends is a fantastic feeling, even if you’re just bringing the dog with you for company! It gives a great opportunity to spend some real quality time with those closest to you. We’ve always found that walking brings people together and gives you the ability to say what’s on your mind. When talking and walking you’ll likely find that you’re constantly building relationships, laughing at silly jokes and have those deep meaningful conversations that mean so much.
So why not give walking a try today! You don’t have to go miles every day, even just to the top of the street and back is enough to get the ball rolling! From there you can gradually increase the distance, adapt your walks to suit your schedule and discover the power of walking for yourself!