Usually when we think of the health benefits of walking, the focus is on fitness and/or losing weight. But there are other health benefits to be gotten from a walking regimen. Walking regularly tends to improve one's overall sense of well-being and happiness. And walking generally helps dissipate negative states of mind and unpleasant thoughts. Hence, walking can be a form of therapy for some people and have a very positive affect on their lives.
Ongoing aerobic walking has been found to promote mental health and a general sense of well-being because it boosts energy, improves sleep, relieves tension and stress, and combats anxiety and depression. A successful fitness and health walking regimen also improves self-esteem and provides an internalized sense of accomplishment.
Physical Fitness and Mental Health Are Linked
The National Institute of Mental Health examined the effects of exercise on mental health and determined that there is a demonstrated link between physical fitness and mental health. It considers exercise to be generally beneficial for emotional health regardless of age or gender.
Walking can help relieve muscle tension and stress, which in turn improves mood and mental outlook. For many people, walking with others provides a stress-reducing opportunity to socialize. Others indulge in beneficial internal conversations when they walk alone. Generally speaking, physically fit people seem to be better able to cope with stressful life changes.
Exercise relieves the symptoms of depression
Regular exercise like walking relieves the symptoms of depression. Routine exercise three times a week or more has been shown to act as a mood elevator for people suffering from clinical depression. Consequently, an overwhelming majority of doctors prescribe exercise for treating depression; 60 percent of them also prescribe exercise to treat anxiety.
It is widely accepted within the mental health community that long-term exercise reduces depression in people who are moderately depressed. One study showed exercise was as effective as psychotherapy at relieving moderate depression. Regular exercise also appears to complement professional treatment, including psychotherapy, medication and electroshock for those who are severely depressed.
Walking regimen improves your sense of self-reliance and control
Ultimately a walking regimen improves your sense of self-reliance and control. It provides an opportunity to set and achieve goals, to see and measure personal improvement. Walking also promotes feelings of pleasure and general well-being by encouraging the production of endorphins in your body.
So why are you reading about how good walking is for you and not out there doing it? You've got nothing to lose and much to gain. Put on your walking shoes and get going!
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A new approach to using walking to heal emotional trauma and bring forth optimal mental functioning.
* Explores why and how we carry emotional wounds, and how they can be healed and resolved
* Shows how walking stimulates both sides of the brain to promote and restore mental health
* Provides simple, yet potent, mental exercises to use while walking
Our bodies usually heal rapidly from an illness, injury, or wound. Yet our minds and hearts often suffer for years with debilitating symptoms of distress or upset. Why is it so hard for our minds and hearts to heal? The key to healing them is simple and can be just a short walk away.
Walking - a bilateral therapy that has been a part of human life throughout history - allows people to heal emotionally as quickly as they do physically. Bilateral therapies engage both sides of the brain and unlock natural states of optimal function and creativity. Thom Hartmann examines how memory works and why emotional shock can resist normal healing. He found that the simple act of walking is effective in treating emotional disturbances ranging from temporary upsets and problems to chronic conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Case studies have shown dramatic results. Walking consciously, while holding a distress or desire in mind, can rapidly dissolve the rigidity of a traumatic memory or negative mind state, dispersing its unpleasant associations in as little as a half hour's time. While walking has always been a natural part of life, its importance in promoting and maintaining mental health is only recently being rediscovered. Hartmann's simple yet potent exercises allow us to create our own walking journeys to restore our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being as well as rejuvenate our body's health.