Does walking have health benefits? In today’s fast-moving world, we have almost stopped walking in our day-to-day life, and that too forgot its benefits. Walking could be a great way to maintain or improve overall health. It is said that a 30 mins walk a day could help you build stamina, burn those extra calories, increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones and boost muscle power. Walking also lowers heart rate, eases anxiety, and relieves stress.
One of the oldest and most primitive parts of the brain is the one that controls anxiety. This part of the brain also controls decision making and making decisions becomes difficult when you are anxious. Making too many decisions at a time can also make you anxious. This part of the brain is a mono-tasker and can do only one thing at a time. Walking actually shuts down the anxious mechanism.
Elevated stress levels produce more hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These are important hormones and are important sources of fuel to the brain. But when in excess, these hormones seep into the bloodstream and not only raise blood sugar levels, these hormones create a host of other severe physical and mental problems, and the cycle between anxiety and other co-occurring disorders is perpetuated.
Depression and suicidal thoughts start to sneak in, and anxiety begins to tighten its grasp if not treated in time. It is crucial that you take all the necessary steps toward anxiety treatment to prevent the spiral from continuing downward.
Walking has several benefits. These benefits may differ from person to person. Still, there are a few expected benefits of walking; (Chen, H.M., Tsai, C.M., Wu, Y.C., Lin, K.C. and Lin, C.C., 2015)
Physical inactivity and anxiety symptoms are correlated. Those who do not burn off excess energy are more prone to suffering from anxiety symptoms.
There are likely several reasons why this occurs:
- Energy which are unused in the body may increase the risk of experiencing anxiety.
- Severe anxiety can create further anxiety, and symptoms may worsen when you’re not moving and tiring your muscles.
For these reasons, to lower anxiety, it becomes very important to make physical activities a habit, and walking is the best way to ensure that. (Warburton, D.E., Nicol, C.W. and Bredin, S.S., 2006)
Walking helps in the way we should breathe. This is especially important in case of anxiety and panic attacks. In the case of hyperventilation, a severe anxiety problem, people tend to feel chest pain and difficulty in breathing. Hyperventilation makes it feel scarcity of oxygen, but it causes mainly because of exhaling extra carbon dioxide. Whereas our body needs a balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. So when we breathe too hard, our oxygen level outweighs the carbon dioxide.
Walking is the best way to balance oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body. When we walk, our body creates carbon dioxide naturally. So the more we walk, the balance is restored.
The best effective way to deal with anxiety is simply reducing the amount you think about your symptoms. Walking, especially outside gives the mind much healthy stimulation and sensory distraction. This may result in a decrease in your anxiety symptoms.
Moving towards Jogging
Walking could lead to jogging, and jogging can also help reduce anxiety levels. Jogging for long distances releases neurotransmitters that reduces stress and anxiety and also reduce levels of some hormones that are linked to anxiety symptoms.
We Walk Along to a New Path
Walking may not control all your anxiety-producing thoughts or prevent all of your anxiety symptoms. Still, walking is a type of remedy that can actually make a genuine difference in your ability to cope with anxiety.
Nonetheless, at times, we may find that walking helps anxiety but it may not be enough on its own to cope and provide the relief that you need. Some therapists recommend using Soma (carisoprodol) in addition to walking treatments for best results.