How to Relieve Stress with Walking

Emotional stress can put a large toll on your mind and body. People often don’t realize
how much stress can affect everything from their mental health to the food they eat,
their digestion, and their overall health. It is important to relieve stress when you can,
which walking can definitely help with.

Walk More Outdoors

Our first tip for using walking to help relieve your stress is to walk outdoors. This can be
going on a hike, walking by the beach or around a local lake, taking your dogs for a walk
in your neighborhood, or walking to a nearby festival or farmer’s market. Just try to get
outside and do some walking.

If you can’t go outside and use the treadmill, listen to something relaxing or gets your
mind distracted. This is another way to relieve stress with your walking, since what you
are benefiting from is the distraction. You aren’t just overthinking or letting the stress
consume you, but just getting more walking done in general.

Take it Easy

Try to use walking as a form of self-care and a way to relax, not as your main form of
fitness. If your walking routine is a rigorous speed-walking workout, it isn’t going to help
you relax much. People often become almost obsessed with their fitness routine early
on, even if you are just walking. This can lead to restricting calories, walking longer and
harder than you intended, and instead of helping with your stress, making it worse.

If this sounds like a habit you are guilty of getting into, the best thing you can do is stop
thinking about walking as a form of fitness or a way to lose weight, and instead just as a
form of self-care that is meant to help you relieve stress.

Try Breathing Exercises

You can also do breathing exercises and mindfulness as you are walking. Many people
find that their walking routine becomes like a short therapy session, where they are able
to clear their mind and be present in the moment. It is like a form of meditation, where
you really focus more on being mindful during the entire experience.

For breathing exercises, it is really easy to do while you are walking. What you want to
do is focus only on your breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly, paying attention to how
you feel and what you hear every time you intake a breath. This helps to relax you while
you are walking, and can get you into a meditative headspace.

Use Walking as Your Form of Self-Care

As we mentioned before, try to think about walking as a way to practice self-care. This
is really important if you have a lot of stress in your life. Remember that walking helps to
release endorphins, and is amazing for your mental health as much as your physical
health. Try to do it every day for at least a few minutes, whether you prefer walking
alone or with friends or family.