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Morning Walk Benefits
Morning Walk Benefits
With the COVID-19 pandemic having wreaked havoc across every single industry, it’s no wonder that most people are taking an evening walk in a park outside their house, especially if they have young children or roommates who need some fresh air during those long, lonely nights. A walk-in Nature has been proven to be beneficial for our bodies and psyche, promoting weight loss, relieving stress, improving memory retention, and reducing anxiety and depression. That said, not everyone walks in parks or other public spaces as often as they should. Not only is that simply impractical — we don’t even know how many people walk in places like this every day — but walking around the neighborhood can actually be intimidating, so you might end up becoming more of a “moody person” than you’d like to be, according to research from Harvard University. So, if you do decide to take a morning stroll, here are some great benefits to consider when considering your next morning walk.
1. It Can Be Fun To Take Your Dog Along
People with dogs tend to get creative about walking with them, too. Most dog owners will find walking with their pets easier than it would be walking without. Plus, walking with their friends also tends to help you feel better because of that human connection that comes naturally. Plus, it’s great for building muscle strength from all the exercise you put into it. You might even fall asleep while doing it, which is awesome! And, although you probably won’t be able to do the same activities (like swimming or biking) as them, there are still plenty of reasons why walking your pet could be fun, both physically and mentally, which makes this one of the best ways to make use of your time.
2. People Who Live Alone Are More Likely To Have Depression Than Those Living Together
People who live together tend to experience more depression than those living alone, according to an online survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Research (CBHSR). Although people who live alone were only slightly higher than those who live together, these rates changed for those who live alone after they started living alone, says Susan Miller, director of CBHSR. As much as we think that it’s good to keep in contact with family and friends, what we need to understand is that sometimes isolation can cause us to become isolated which in turn can create feelings like sadness and loneliness that then lead to our depression levels to increase, she adds. Even though individuals living together might live closer together due to socialization, there are still opportunities to learn new things about ourselves and others. While life moves on, it’s important to remember the reasons behind the friendships and connections we made along the way. If people living together tend to suffer more due to isolation than those who live alone, then maybe having a pet?
3. This Might Help Get Someone Moving Again
Studies show that being active causes us to release endorphins and dopamine, two hormones that help us achieve happiness. Studies also show that when we exercise we get more than just a boost of energy, though. It helps improve mood, increases serotonin levels, improves sleep, helps you stay focused on work, and can prevent us from getting sick. In addition to physical changes, studies also show that chronic exercise can have to affect psychological health. When you make exercise a habit, it may even be easier for someone suffering from depression to fit back into society. And, since fitness can be difficult to do at home, consider signing up for a gym membership or joining a virtual class. You might be surprised at how much exercise can benefit someone struggling with mental illness who can start seeing positive results in days and weeks.
4. Exercise Can Make Everyone Feel Better
When you take a walk around the neighborhood or somewhere close to your apartment, it makes everyone feel good! Whether it’s a brisk walk through the park with your dog, or sneaking into the local playground where you can run, jump, or even enjoy a bike ride, all of these acts give your body that feeling of “being home,” even on a cold winter's night. Just as walking in nature does, taking a stroll outdoors can also leave you happier, less stressed, and can help reduce anxiety and depression. According to PsychCentral, walking anywhere outside your house can have different effects on a person, depending on how they respond and how they perceive the environment. For instance, children living in poor environments might be easily irritated by bugs and cold temperatures, while older adults would benefit from the sun and natural light. When you notice signs of a bad mood happening — if you notice that you’re unable to get out of bed without trying for hours on end — try to calm yourself down with something soft to grab hold of like your phone or your blanket. Then take a moment to breathe naturally, relax, and get inside yourself. These simple suggestions should go a long way with helping you get moving without giving you anything to worry about.
5. Walking Is Good For Memory Retention
Research conducted in 2009 in Sweden had participants take 60 minutes each day for six weeks, and measured the impact of walking and jogging on memory retention. As part of the study, participants had to write down everything that happened to them that day. After they finished writing each scenario, participants then took an IQ test that measured verbal reasoning, visual recognition, and attention span to see how well they remembered everything. Participants who did four sets of three tasks were more effective at recalling events, which was also found to be true when testing memory recall skills. This may seem obvious, but it helps explain why so many folks have trouble remembering important dates, like birthdays or anniversaries that they should celebrate. Having someone remind us of our favorite moments is helpful. But for things to become easy, our brains need to store memories per man. Remembering details like birthdays and anniversaries is just a small part of storing information and not everyone remembers birthdays or anniversaries the same way. Perhaps the most exciting part of walking in particular is that when we remember things like that, it doesn’t just happen, but our brain stores it as a memory for later retrieval.
6. It Helps Reduce Anxiety Around Public Places
Many studies have shown that walking regularly can help lower anxiety levels, according to Mental Floss. However, studies have also found that walking outdoors helps decrease negative thinking and behavior, which in turn could help reduce symptoms of anxiety. In one 2015 study, researchers gave women two options. One option was to complete an anxiety-inducing task outside, where participants had to listen to music playing outside while they listened to fear-inducing sounds. Another option was to do nothing and listen to silence. However, the result was very surprising — women had significantly increased anxiety levels after completing the fear-inducing task out silently. What do individuals experience when walking in high traffic areas, and near shopping malls and gas stations? Researchers in 2020 found that women in this area might be more anxious than men. They might also be more reluctant to talk to people who walk by. Some studies show that walking can also affect how well information gets into our memory. Researchers conducted a study at the 2018 American Psychological Association Annual Meeting where they asked participants to read a story. Half of those participants walked into meetings and discussed stories, while the other half took the subway instead. Overall, the training group showed a much longer reading than the cabins group showed, which led them to think twice about sharing their stories. At the end of the meeting, more than half of the participants agreed that their stories had helped others. While walking can help relieve anxiety surrounding public places, there are still ways to overcome anxiety by exercising!
7. It Can Improve Concentration
Studies show that walking is usually helpful for concentration. When we get out and walk, our minds go blank and we can focus on something else completely. Our heads get tired and wander off to get food or water. Not only does walking allow us to focus on something without distractions, but it can also allow us to improve concentration — and it’s never been more clear that just being quiet is sometimes the best thing we can do for our minds when it comes to dealing with stress. You might not be able to join a conversation, but you certainly can walk away from a conversation. And if you ever feel a bit lost in an argument, why not walk away from that, too? Or, if you’ve spent hours arguing with another person, you could walk away, and take their point of contention off of your mind for a little while. Plus, when our feet get weary, walking releases endorphin, dopamine, and epinephrine, which boost our feelings of well-being and make us smile.
8. Walking Helps Relieve Stress
When walking, our body produces endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, a chemical known as neuro endocannabinoid system that reduces inflammation throughout our bodies and also works to reduce anxiety levels, according to Dr. Mark Feig, psychotherapist and owner of Healing Arts in Los Angeles. We often associate walking with relaxing, but research shows that walking can also relieve stress. When walking, oxygen reaches your muscles, increasing blood flow to the heart, allowing it to pump faster. Additionally, the presence of oxygen in your muscles also causes them to feel warmer, which in turn can help alleviate stress. In an article on Psychology Today, Feig notes that “there’s some evidence that walking with one foot in front of the other can improve heart health and mental health.”
9. It Enhances Your Sense Of Self Worth
Being able to say "I am enough" in the midst of a breakup feels a lot better than saying what it means to "I am not