Stepping Out for Stress Relief

Are you struggling to cope with the stress of your daily life?

Are you suffering from the pressure of mental strain and anxiety, or feeling overwhelmed?

You’re not alone.

Most Americans feel some sort of daily stress in their lives, while even more may be suffering from health issues caused by stress and not even realize it!

Stress can affect your health by causing changes in your body or altering your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Ignoring symptoms of stress can also lead to serious health problems, as stress is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Walk and Relieve Stress

Do you recognize any of these common symptoms of stress?

How Stress Affects the Body and Mind:

  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain
  • Chest Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive Problems
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of Libido
  • Lack of Focus
  • Feelings of Restlessness or Anxiety
  • Irritability; Angry Outbursts
  • Feeling Overwhelmed
  • Depression; Unexplained Feelings of Sadness
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Resorting to Drinking, Smoking, or Overeating

Step out for Stress Relief!

One of the simplest ways to relieve stress is through exercise!

Scientific research shows that exercise is effective at improving mental alertness and concentration, and reducing fatigue and stress levels.  It is even associated with improved sleep and elevated feelings of self-esteem!

Physical activity produces endorphins, or our “feel-good” hormones, which are chemicals that are secreted in the brain and nervous system that have an analgesic effect and act as natural pain-relievers.  Studies have shown that regular physical activity is effective in lowering levels of stress and stabilizing mood.

The best part is that you don’t need to enroll in a high-impact aerobics class or join a gym to reap the stress-busting effects of exercise – it can be as easy as taking a walk outside!

Walking is an inexpensive, low-risk, and accessible form of exercise that is a powerful, yet underrated and underutilized stress buster.  Walking as little as 30 minutes a day can provide you with an immediate change of body chemistry that can drastically reduce stress.

Even five minutes of physical activity can stimulate the stress-busting effects of exercise!

Walk in Natural Landscapes for Added Stress Relief

A change in scenery can also have a positive effect on your stress levels. Walking outdoors in nature can reduce depression, cut stress, and improve mental health and well-being.

nature walks reduce stress

A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that group walks conducted in nature were associated with statistically significant lower depression and perceived stress, and also created a positive effect on emotional well-being.

Meandering through a scenic landscape can help to calm the senses and enhance the meditative effect of exercise.

Making Time for YOU

If your busy schedule is the source of much of your stress, you may wonder how you will ever squeeze another item into your daily agenda. Do your body and mind a favor and make it priority to pencil in some time for physical activity!

Making time for this important aspect of self-care will go a long way in improving both your physical and mental health. Taking time out for a walk will refresh your energy and allow you to better handle the daily stress that you encounter. Also remember to get a full night’s sleep, as this will also better prepare you to handle stressful situations.

If you need expert guidance, I am here to help you! Contact me for more information on how walking can benefit your health!

Sources
  • “Exercise for Stress and Anxiety.” ADAA. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, July 2014. Web.
  • Marselle, Melissa, Katherine Irvine, Altea Lorenzo-Arribas, and Sara Warber. “Moving beyond Green: Exploring the Relationship of Environment Type and Indicators of Perceived Environmental Quality on Emotional Well-Being following Group Walks.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health IJERPH 12.1 (2014): 106-30. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stress Management.” Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 28 May 2016. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stress Management.” Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress. Mayo

About the author: Dr Doraida Abramowitz

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