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Discover the Mental Health Benefits of Walking This May

national walking month

May is National Walking Month, a time when we celebrate the simple, enjoyable, and accessible form of exercise that walking is. Not only does walking help in maintaining physical health, but it also offers a plethora of mental health benefits.

The Power of Walking

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get active and stay active. With little to no preparation needed, it’s a low-cost, effective form of exercise that can significantly impact your overall health. This includes everything from aiding weight loss and boosting fitness levels to lowering blood pressure.

Walking and Mental Health

Research conducted in the UK has shown a significant link between physical activity and mental well-being. Specifically, individuals who are overweight have a 55% higher chance of experiencing depression throughout their lives compared to those who are in better physical shape. Engaging in regular walks, which are suggested to be 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise three times per week, can help reduce this risk substantially. Breaking up these exercise sessions into shorter walks can make it easier to incorporate them into daily routines while still reaping the same benefits.

Walking not only benefits physical health but also boosts cognitive health, improves mood, decreases anxiety, and boosts the release of endorphins, which are the brain’s natural mood elevators.

How Walking Boosts Mental Wellbeing

  1. Enhances Endorphins: Regular walks boost endorphins, which not only help in reducing pain perception but also enhance feelings of wellbeing.
  2. Improves Body Confidence: Regular physical activity like walking can lead to weight loss and improve body image, which is important as concerns about body image can profoundly affect mental health.
  3. Increases Focus: Walking increases blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen cognition and increase concentration levels, making you more efficient at work and daily activities.
  4. Promotes Mindfulness: Mindful walking, where focus is placed on the sensation of movement, can act as a form of moving meditation, helping to alleviate stress and anchor you in the present moment.
  5. Improves Sleep Quality: Engaging in regular walking can lead to better sleep quality. Studies suggest that aerobic exercises, like walking, are effective in increasing the amount of deep sleep you get, allowing both brain and body to rejuvenate.

Embrace Walking This National Walking Month

Walking offers a unique opportunity to improve mental health in a way that is accessible to almost everyone. Whether it’s a brisk walk through a city park, a peaceful stroll in the countryside, or even a mindful walk around your local neighbourhood, the act of walking is a powerful tool for mental wellbeing.

During National Walking Month, make sure to put on your walking shoes and head outside. By doing so, you will not only improve your physical health but also contribute to a healthier state of mind.

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