Many times in the middle of a heated battle with August I have wanted to run away. Or he HAS run away. When he gets anxious or stressed he knows the best outlet for those feelings is to run around the house. To quite literally run around the outside of the house until he’s able to burn off the energy created by that anxiety. The change created in his demeanor and physical body posture is incredible. Doctors and scientists and veterinarians will tell you the same thing. It’s always better when you take a walk!
An article on the Healthline website found studies that indicate that walking between 15 and 30 minutes a day can:
- Burn Calories
- Lower Blood Sugar
- Strengthen the Heart
- Ease Joint Pain
- Boost Immune Function
- Boost Your Energy
- Improve Mood (BINGO!!)
- Extend Your Life
- Tone Your Legs
- Promote Creative Thinking
You can read details about each of these benefits and the studies here. But what is it about walking that is so helpful for our mood? Well, depending on the situation, it might just be that we’re finally alone, out of the house and away from the chaos that is our day-to-day lives! But it’s more than that, right? Because sometimes we can’t walk that way. Sometimes we’re walking on a treadmill or a track at a gym full of people. So there’s still noise and activity.
And sometimes we don’t walk alone. We walk with a partner, friend, dog. I know when I walk with my dog, Mia, the walk is the one she wants to take, not necessarily the path I want to travel! Occasionally even a walk with our RAD kiddo can be self-care if everyone is in the right head space.
August and I took at walk on the greenway behind my house in North Carolina around dusk one evening. I don’t remember the time of year but it’s almost always copperhead season. And we came upon one on the path. I walked around it and kept going. August froze. I could not get him to go around the snake. He was petrified. I told him to go around on the backside like I did and the snake wouldn’t even care. He wasn’t having it. It became quite apparent that I wasn’t going to convince him so I came back over to his side and we went back the way we came.
This article focuses only on how walking can improve your mood. Now one of the things I didn’t think about that it suggests is to find a walking partner you can vent to. I’m not so sure that is a good idea because I’m more of a relax and release kind of walking but I bet if I was venting to someone as I walked I’d cover a lot of miles! If you try this, please let me know!
However you choose to make walking a part of your self-care, do it. Even 15 minutes a day to get up from your desk chair, get out of your car, get off of the couch, whatever can make such a difference. And if you’re worrying about losing productivity, get and audiobook to listen to. But try hard not to. Focus on breathing and just being. I promise that will be productive enough.
Until next time,