Most of us know by now that to move your body is to prime your mind for clarity, vitality, and long-term health. Yet, if you are not a gym-goer or particularly excited about training for marathons or riding miles on a bike, you may wonder how to get moving in a meaningful way.
You are certainly not alone.
Before you give up on the idea, consider this, walking short distances while using the time to pray, reflect, and release the cares of the day might be very beneficial. This is a way you can get moving without signing up for the kind of intensity that might get you hurt or make it difficult to commit to a routine.
You may find the scientific findings listed below regarding mental health and short-distance walking valuable.
Key Ways Your Mental Well-Being Benefits from Short-Distance Walking
Better Learning and a Memory Boost
Michael Yassa, the director of the U.C. Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory co-authored a study that revealed that very light exercise could alter the brain in immediate and positive ways.
Just 10 to 30-minute strolls appear to improve how certain key parts of the brain communicate. They seem to coordinate more easily and boost recall capacity as well. In fact, brain scans reveal that just a 10-min walk lights up the regions of the brain associated with learning, storing and retrieving information.
Stress Relief and Mood Elevation
As more research is completed, experts indicate that anxiety and depression relief don’t require an hour on the treadmill. This is crucial to know if you suffer from either condition. When you are overwhelmed with fear or sadness, committing to 10 minutes is much easier than committing to longer periods.
A brief walk around the block to help pull you out of your racing thoughts or dark mood is worth the time. In fact, it has shown to naturally supplement your therapy or medical treatment plan.
Time to Power Down and Consider Possibilities and Problem Solving
It’s easy to forget a time when Google and Siri weren’t around to keep us from fumbling around in a library or spend time pondering a thought or idea. Nowadays, we search the net instead of our minds for answers. And we may have lost something important in the process.
A brisk walk a few times a day (without our phones) may be just what we need to disconnect from technology and reconnect to our mental gifts, creative spirits, and a bit of inspiration. They can be squelched by the millions of thought and ideas cataloged on the web.
To put it simply, we need time to observe, daydream, breathe and just mentally wander. So, a walk in creation… rain or shine… can stimulate you and invigorate you. Perspective and problem-solving are just a couple of the benefits many walkers cite as the reason for choosing a brief stroll outside over workouts indoors.
Your Mind and Body are Made for Each Other
Your body was certainly never meant to operate separately from your mind, emotions, or spirit. You are a whole person. Your body can serve you well if you employ it well. And you needn’t punish it or strain it mercilessly. Short walks are simply an act of appreciation for how you are made to move and how it makes you feel to do so.
The mental energy and relief you seek are likely inside you. Give them a daily wake-up call. Build in a daily prayer walk. Walk to lunch or through the park after a bite. Or walk with your coffee and coworkers when you feel that afternoon slump.
With just a stroll to the corner store, you might be amazed at how much you observe or remember. All because you gave your brain and body the time to get on the same page.
Is this season of your life challenging? Would you like to learn more ways to relax or reflect? Please contact me at 828.513.6491. We can discuss how we might work together to achieve your goals for a more satisfying life.
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About the Author
Julia Nelson, LPCA, LMFTA is a psychotherapist and owns a private practice in Henderson County, (Flat Rock) NC and Rutherford County, (Forest City) NC. In general, she specializes in couples counseling, anxiety and depression counseling, premarital counseling, and parenting classes. She is also a Certified Clinical Military Counselor. To find out more about Julia click here: Nelson Christian Counseling.
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