Walking offers many health benefits, including walking for stress reduction.
In fact, walking is one of the few activities where you can double your impact.
First, you can use it as formal exercise. Second, you can also focus on incorporating more steps into your daily routine. That’s how smart women use walking for stress reduction.
Although you’ve probably been walking since you were a child, you can learn new techniques that will help you burn even more calories.
Take a look at these ideas to use walking for stress reduction.
Walking workouts for stress reduction:
Speed it up.
Depending on your fitness level, you can burn about 65 to 100 calories for each mile you walk. If you move faster, you’ll burn more calories covering the same distance. That’s a really powerful work out that will send stress packing.
Vary the pace.
Studies also show that interval training is an effective way to slash stress AND burn more calories. I call it POWER walking. Simply alternate between periods of walking briskly and strolling at a more moderate pace.
Check your posture.
To move efficiently and avoid injuries, ensure you’re using proper form when walking for stress reduction. It’s usually safer to take more steps rather than trying to lengthen your stride.
Check that your heels hit the ground first, and use your toes to push you forward. Engage your core muscles to take pressure off your back.
You definitely do not want to get any injuries, which would cause more stress instead of less.
Use your arms.
Swinging your arms will also increase the intensity. If you want to add props, try walking poles or hand weights.
I also use ankle weights to add that extra intensity to when walking for stress reduction. It sends my “feel good” hormones through the roof hacking stress down to its roots.
For an extra challenge try walking backwards in a safe area. This is awesome, trust me. It works the muscles really well and makes me feel like I am conquering the world! (Literally).
Climbing up hills is another great option too. I make sure to include some uphill climbing on my route when walking for stress reduction.
Hit the beach.
Just changing surface can power up your workout. Traveling across sand (or snow if that’s all you got) requires more energy than walking on smooth pavement.
Since I live in the Caribbean walking in the sand id a great option…as soon as the sand comes back after the last two super hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean (Irma and Maria).
Listen to music.
Playing your favorite tunes can make any workout seem like less effort. Put together a lively soundtrack that will motivate you to keep going while walking for stress reduction.
You can buy shoes designed specifically for walking or just choose any pair with low heels and firm support. Dressing in protective layers will also help you deal with cold or wet weather.
Since I walk early in the morning, I always wear a jacket and a hat…just in-case I am greeted with (unexpected) morning showers!
Find a buddy.
While I usually walk alone very early in the morning, walking with others can be fun. Invite family and friends along or join a local hiking group. If you have a dog, you have a companion who would love to join you on your walk. Every morning I pass one lady and her dog on my walking route. They BOTH seem to be enjoying the walk.
Talk with your doctor.
Even though walking is a generally safe and low-impact activity, you may want to check with your doctor if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Your physician can help you set goals that are realistic for you.
Incidental Walking for Stress Reduction:
Take the stairs.
Skip the elevator and escalators. This is an easy way to add more steps to your walking goal without even thinking. Best of all, climbing up stairs burns almost 2 calories for each 10 steps, so you manage your weight too!
Park further away.
Walk or bike to work if possible. If the distance is too far or there’s no safe route, you can still choose a parking space that will enable you to squeeze in a brief walk before arriving at the office.
Schedule work breaks.
Pause every half hour to stretch and move around. You could also make it a habit to use the restrooms and copy machines on the next floor instead of the ones by your desk.
Stand and dial.
Think about how many minutes you spend talking on the phone each day. You can easily spend a lot more time on your feet if you pace around while you’re checking on your children, friends or reaching out to clients.
Walking for stress reduction is so simple, and yet there are so many health benefits of walking. Walking does so much for your mental health, your physical health, and your overall well-being.
Make walking for stress reduction a regular part of your daily routine and watch your stress melt away!