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Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed lately? You're not alone. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers report experiencing job-related stress, with nearly half of them saying that they need help in learning stress management strategies.
Stress, when left unmanaged, can take a toll on our mental and physical health. The good news is that there are simple yet effective ways to reduce stress, such as walking.
As a low-impact exercise, walking can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Let’s explore in this blog how walking can alleviate stress, as well as tackle different walking workouts that you can start doing today.
Walk to Reduce Your Stress
Walking as an exercise is easy and simple to do. You can perform it anytime and anywhere, allowing you to effortlessly add it to your daily life.
Citing research, the North Dakota State University explains that the stress-relieving benefit of walking stems from the fact that your body releases the feel-good and mood-boosting endorphins when you walk, be it fast-paced or just a simple stroll.
Apart from helping reduce stress, other known benefits of walking include:
• Enhanced Sleep: Sleep quality is essential to your well-being. However, stress may prevent you from getting some good night’s sleep. Walking can help improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation.
• Improved Heart Health and Blood Pressure Levels: According to a study, three 10-minute walks per day are better for preventing future blood pressure spikes than a 30-minute trek per day.
• Weight Loss: Walking can help burn calories and aid in weight loss, says Dr. Melina B. Jampolis, author of “The Doctor on Demand Diet.” When combined with a healthy diet, you may achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
• Improved Cognitive Function: Studies have shown that walking can enhance memory and attention as well as promote mental clarity and focus.
Do Some Warm-Up Exercises
Are you ready to make regular walking part of your workout routine? But don’t forget to do some warm-up exercises to prevent injury and increase your performance. For your walking workouts, you can do some stretching, walking lunges, leg swings, arm circles, and ankle circles.
Warming up should be done gradually and gently. Take time to listen to your body, ensuring that you make adjustments as needed.
6 Walking Exercises to Help Reduce Stress
- Begin walking at a comfortable pace.
- Gradually increase your speed until you're walking at a brisk pace.
- Maintain your brisk pace for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Gradually decrease your speed to cool down.
- With brisk walking, you’re walking faster than normal, typically at a pace of 3-4 miles per hour.
- Swing your arms naturally to help maintain your pace.
- Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support.
- Brisk walking increases cardiovascular health.
- It helps burn calories and reduce body fat.
- It helps clear your mind and improve your endurance.
- Choose a hill or incline to walk up.
- Walk at a safe pace up the hill.
- Keep your pace as you climb the hill.
- Once you arrive at the top, walk back down to complete your routine.
- Use your arms to push yourself up the hill.
- You should maintain an even pace during the exercise.
- Stretch before and after the workout.
- You can start out with small inclines.
- Hill walking tones the glutes, calves, and thighs.
- It can help increase leg strength and endurance.
- It can provide a challenging workout to improve your overall fitness.
- Find stairs with at least 10 steps.
- Walk up the stairs at a moderate pace. Make sure to keep your back straight.
- Engage your core muscles to maintain your balance.
- Walk back down once you get to the top.
- Repeat several times. Consider increasing the duration of your workout as your body gets used to the exercise.
- If necessary, use the handrail to maintain your balance.
- Choose comfortable shoes with good traction to help prevent slips and falls.
- Avoid putting too much pressure on your knee or ankle.
- You can do this exercise at a nearby park or stadium, or your home or office building.
- This exercise is a form of intense cardiovascular workout.
- It helps strengthen your legs and glutes.
- Walking is a weight-bearing exercise, which is good for your bone health.
- Start walking at a relaxed pace.
- Start brisk walking for 1-2 minutes.
- Go back to your comfortable walking pace. Walk at this pace for 1-2 minutes.
- Repeat for at least 20-30 minutes.
- Use a timer or stopwatch to monitor your intervals.
- Start your workout with a warm-up exercise.
- As your body adjusts to the workout, slowly increase the duration of your intervals.
- This exercise is good for your heart health.
- Do this exercise if you want to burn calories and increase your metabolism.
- It’s a challenging workout that adds excitement to your routine.
Walking with Weights
- Choose a set of dumbbells or other weights.
- Begin walking at a comfortable pace, holding the weights in your hands.
- Gradually increase your pace and maintain your speed for at least 10-15 minutes.
- To cool down, gradually reduce your pace.
- Always begin with a lighter weight. Gradually increase the weight as you become stronger.
- Don’t forget to engage your core and keep your shoulders relaxed throughout the exercise.
- Do some stretching exercises before you begin.
- Try to do walking lunges as part of your walk to strengthen your legs and glutes.
- It helps build muscle and strengthen bones.
- It helps burn calories and enables you to stay fit.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step forward with your right foot and roll onto the ball of your foot.
- Push off with your back foot to propel yourself forward.
- Swing your arms in a natural motion to maintain momentum.
- Repeat on the other leg.
- Walk at a brisk pace to increase cardiovascular benefits.
- Maintain good posture with your shoulders relaxed.
- Focus on your breath and try to take deep, controlled breaths.
- It burns calories and increases cardiovascular endurance.
- It tones your legs, glutes, and calves.
- It can reduce stress and improve mood.
How to Integrate Walking into Your Routine
You can make walking part of your everyday routine starting today. Consider these tips to help get you started:
1. Start Slowly and Gradually Increase Intensity and Duration
This will make it easier to stick with the habit over time. Nature-based walking may be something you can do to help you relax and connect to your surroundings.
2. Have Measurable Goals and Monitor Your Progress
Both are vital to keeping you focused on your goals. Having practical goals that are easy to monitor can also keep you motivated and provide you with a sense of accomplishment.
3. Choose a Safe Neighbourhood
Choose areas that are well lighted and with a smooth surface, making your walk a more enjoyable and worry-free experience. Another tip is to experiment with different walking speeds, intervals, or terrain to prevent boredom.
4. Incorporate Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or visualisation, help relax your body and help bring your focus to your surroundings.
5. Schedule a Walk with a Friend or in a Group
It will make your routine a fun experience if you walk with someone who has the same fitness and health goals as you.
Try out the different walking workouts to help manage your stress and reach your goals. Grab your walking shoes, step outside, and let the benefits of walking improve your mental and physical health today!
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