When you’re at your desk all the long, the best thing to do is to take a break and walk around the office or outside for a few minutes. Not only does walking have physical benefits, but it also has mental health benefits too! I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before, walking is great for your body, but in this article, we’ll be going over some of the mental benefits of walking and how it’s great for your mind!
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Move your body!
Your body is meant to move, and you need to avoid sitting all day long at work. If you’re unable to obtain a standing desk converter, then the next best thing is to start walking! Studies have shown that people perform their best if they do intervals of 60-90 minutes of intense focus with 5-15 minutes of breaks.
On your breaks, go for a light walk. Even if you think that you have a deadline and that you can’t walk, scientists have done research where even a 5-minute walk can improve your productivity and creativity.
The mental health benefits of walking
When you’re walking, there’s a lot that can happen to your mental health. Just to make you aware, here are some of the benefits that we’ll be going over:
- Walking puts your brain in a meditative state
- Walking outdoors reduces stress
- Walking boosts stress-busting endorphins
- Walking with friends has more stress-relieving benefits
- Walking boosts energy and reduces fatigue
Walking puts your brain in a meditative state
When you step away from your high-stress desk or a challenging task, walking can shift your brain into a calmer state. Studies have shown that when you’re walking, your brain sparks a nerve cell that relaxes the senses.
When you’re walking, try to follow a walking meditation practice in one of your favorite parks.
Walking meditation benefits
- reduces stress
- lowers blood pressure
- strengthens concentration
- increases awareness
Walking outdoors reduces stress
One of the best reasons to walk in the park is the spend some time in nature. There’s a link between stress reduction and green space. A number of studies have shown that spending time outdoors can relieve stress and improve memory and attention.
Walking outdoors have also been found to improve energy levels.
Even if you’re not near a park, walking outdoors has a lot of benefits too. So try to step away from your challenging task every so often, and you’ll start reaping the benefits.
Walking boosts endorphins
Similar to any other cardiovascular exercise, a brisk walk outdoors can also boost endorphins which can help reduce stress hormones and alleviate depression.
And according to WebMD, exercising can improve mood and self-esteem.
Walking with friends boosts more stress-relieving benefits
If you’re around co-workers or friends, ask them to walk with you. Having a buddy with you can boost stress-busting endorphins.
Walking improves mood and self-esteem
Numerous studies have shown that walking improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality.
Research from UK’s University of Essex has analyzed 10 studies that involved over 1,200 participants and each of the studies examined the self-esteem and mood benefits of “green exercise” — which is some activity outdoor, ie walking.
The biggest surprise is that all participants showed an improvement in mood and self-esteem.
Walking and mental health disabilities
Those who have mental health problems, consider taking a walk whenever you feel:
- like you have anxiety
- stressed out
- have ADHD
- or PTSD and trauma
Take a break and walk around for 10-15 minutes.
Walking and Depression
Exercising regularly can treat mild to moderate depression, but the question is can walking do the same?
In fact, a study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found that walking for an hour a day can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%.
If you haven’t turned to walking in your daily routine, you can start with 5- or 10-minute sessions and slowly increase your time.
Here are some things that your brain does when you walk:
- neural growth
- reduces inflammation
- new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being
- releases endorphins
Walking and Anxiety
When you’re walking, it helps relieve tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy. Also, you read that earlier that walking helps with endorphins. So moving your body can help with your anxiety problems.
Try walking meditation and notice the sensations of your body…
Walking and Stress
If you’re being stressed at work from a challenging task or if you can’t solve a problem, try taking a break away from it. A lot of studies have shown that taking a walk can generate creativity and improve your stress.
Walking and ADHD
Try to pay close attention to your physical sensations in your joints and muscles, even your insides as your body moves. When you’re focusing on your body and how it feels, you can help your nervous system become “unstuck” and it’ll help move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma.
Overcoming mental health by walking
By now you know that exercising can make you feel a lot better, and just simply walking around for a few minutes has profound effects on your mental health. However, taking the first step is still easier said than done, correct?
Here are some common barriers and how we think you can get past them:
If you’re feeling exhausted
We know that being tired or stressed can often feel worse and the thought of exercising can make you even more tired, but the truth is that physical activity such as walking is actually a powerful energizer. Studies show that regular walks can reduce fatigue and increase energy levels. So the next time you feel exhausted, take a 5-minute walk to feel your mental health improve.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed
We can vouch that whenever we’re stressed and depressed, having the thought of another obligation can be quite overwhelming. If you have a lot of things to juggle in your life, i.e. children, work, etc., exercising can be a big hurdle.
Remember this: physical activity helps us do everything better. If you begin can start prioritizing physical activity, you’ll find yourself in a better position to conquer everything else in your life.
If you’re feeling hopeless
Don’t think you’re feeling hopeless because everyone has to start somewhere. Just take it easy in the first few days, and then build up your tolerance. Five minutes the first day, the second day should be increased by another five, and so forth. This will become a habit for you.
If you’re feeling bad about yourself
Stop feeling bad for yourself. Stop worrying about how your body looks, age, fitness level, etc. The only way to get to your end goal is to start.
Desk Advisor’s Mental Health of Walking Conclusion
Next time you have a deadline or a challenging task at work, try to take a break and walk around the office. Studies have shown tremendous benefits when walking outdoors to your mental health.
Walking around just for 5-minutes has tremendous benefits to your mental health; reduce stress, improve productivity, and increase creativity.