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Emotional stress can put a large toll on your mind and body, but there are lots of benefits of walking for stress relief. 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. Walking for stress relief can definitely help with that.
Walk More Outdoors
Our first tip for getting all the benefits of walking for stress relief 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 over-thinking 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.
Ways to Walk More Outdoors
Want to be someone who gets regular exercise, but not in a gym or by using a treadmill in your home? If so, walking is a wonderful choice! It is one of the best forms of exercise for many reasons, with the ability to do it anywhere outside being one of the main reasons. Keep reading to find out how you can walk more outdoors.
Find a Park Nearby
Walking at a park provides some unique benefits of walking for stress relief that you just won’t get from walking in your neighborhood or going to the gym to use a treadmill. It allows you to keep your walk interesting, often prevents you from only walking on flat ground, and of course includes beautiful outdoor scenery as well.
If the park is close enough to your house, consider just walking there, instead of driving. Once you get there, see if there are trails to walk, or if they have a paved walking path. You are able to enjoy the sights, watch kids play and dogs have fun, while also getting in some good exercise.
Look for the Outdoor Scenery
In addition to a park, you might have other places in your city or town that provides some beautiful scenery to actually make your walk more enjoyable.
Depending on where you live, this could be a hiking trail in the mountains, a pond or lake with a walking path that goes all the way around, or a beach where you can either walk on the paved path with a view of the ocean, or on the sand itself.
When you have a beautiful view and fresh air, you can get all the benefits of walking for stress relief. The walk won’t even feel like a workout.
Go on a Hike
Why not improve your fitness while also getting other benefits of walking for stress relief? Hiking is a little more challenging than just walking on flat ground, but so worth it! When you choose to go on a hike, you get these unique benefits:
It works more muscles and becomes a better cardio workout.
There is usually a specific walking path that tells you how many whiles you will walk.
It is a great workout to bring friends or family on.
Find More Outdoor Activities To Get The Benefits of Walking For Stress Relief
Start paying attention to events coming up in your area, and look for ones that take place outdoors. There are so many ways to get in more steps outdoors, without even really thinking about it as exercise.
Here are a few ideas:
- Go to a nearby farmer’s market or street fair.
- Sign up for a 5k and join it with friends.
- Go to a local festival.
- Join a local walking group.
Those are some really easy ways to walk more outdoors, even when you don’t feel like it’s a workout.
Helpful Accessories When Walking Outdoors
Are you planning on doing most of your walking outdoors? That’s one of the best ways to reap the benefits of walking for stress relief. Will you be going long distances, such as going on hikes? If so, you definitely want to consider some of these accessories and tools.
Insoles and Socks for Walking
If you intend to do your walking outdoors, you might be walking on different terrain, which requires cushioned socks and insoles in your shoes. If you fail to get insoles or the right cushioning in your shoes, you might end up with sores, blisters, and very tired feet.
Cushioned socks are great for people who walk or run, and are ideal if you intend to do a lot of trail walking or hiking. They won’t feel like padding, just like a little extra thickness on your feet. But do wear the cushioned socks when buying new shoes so they still fit properly.
Another option is to get some orthotic insoles, which provides even more cushion on the bottom of your feet. Trust us – your feet will thank you.
Don’t forget your water bottle! You won’t have water as accessible when walking outdoors, as if you use a treadmill at the gym or in your own home. You need water when you add in extra workouts, no matter what the climate is. Don’t assume that if it’s cold, you can skip the water. Get an insulated, stainless steel water bottle that includes a secure lid. A lid with a loop that you can easily hold onto while you’re walking is a great feature as well.
Fanny Pack (bounce free)
Bounce-free fanny packs are great for both walking and running. These go around your waist and are lightweight, and built to not bounce every time you take a step. They can help keep your hands free by holding your phone, keys, wallet, and anything else you want to bring with you when you walk.
Technology is essential for outdoor walking! Your phone is of course first in line, as it can do just about everything you need. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can track your steps and route with a variety of different apps. You will also have WiFi in case you need it, and a way to call for help if you have an injury on your walk.
Another option for technology is to get a fitness tracker, such as a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. This further helps to track your workout when you are outside.
Ways to Walk More Indoors
If you want to add more walking to your daily exercise routine, but don’t like walking outside or are stuck inside because of inclement weather, don’t worry! There are many ways to get your steps in from the comfort of your home, or by going to other places where you can get all the benefits of walking for stress relief, while staying indoors.
Do You Have Access to a Treadmill?
The most obvious suggestion is to use a treadmill if you want to walk indoors. Think if this is a good option for you, whether you have one at home or can make it to a gym. Treadmills definitely make it convenient when you need to walk, but can’t get outside.
Maybe the weather is too cold, there is construction right outside your house, or you aren’t a big of the gym. It is a big investment, but it can be worth it if you plan to use it on a regular basis.
Cleaning and Chores Every Day
If you are used to doing most of your cleaning just once a week, it is probably a great workout that day, but you are missing out on it for the rest of the week. Another option is to do a little bit of your cleaning or chores every day, which allows you to increase your daily steps.
This actually creates more steps in your day than you might have imagined. It is going to encourage you to do more around the house, and maybe walk up and down the stairs while cleaning and organizing, or finish projects you have been avoiding, like cleaning out the garage or working on your garden outside.
Find Places You Can Walk (Indoors)
Sometimes, you want to walk indoors, but not necessarily at home. This is when indoor places with air conditioning and lots of walking space come in handy. Maybe you typically like to walk outside, but it’s in the dead of summer and the last thing you want to do is walk around your neighborhood in 100 degree weather, but not necessarily walk inside your home.
On days like this, it is the perfect opportunity to drive to the mall, go visit a museum, or bring your kids to the aquarium. These are mostly indoor places that allow you to get tons of walking in, while being inside a comfortable and temperature-controlled environment.
YouTube Walking Fitness Videos
If you want to get a full walking workout inside your home, but without a treadmill, check YouTube for walking fitness videos. There are a lot of great options! These videos take you through a warm up and stretching routine, to walking throughout the 30-60 minutes. They keep it interesting by adding in some other moves as well, like leg lifts and side steps, which are going to use more muscles and create more of a cardio workout.
If youtube is not your thing, this Walk Strong – 6 Week transformation program may be exactly what you need to start your indoor walking routine.
How You Can Easily Incorporate More Walking Into Your Routine
If you have been wanting to get all the health benefits of walking for stress relief, but struggling finding a way to fit it into your routine, we can help! Here are some super easy tips that will help you walk more each and every day.
Walk Instead of Drive
A simple way to get in a few more steps each day is to walk places that are within a reasonable walking distance. Sure, if you are getting a week’s worth of groceries, walking back from the store isn’t convenient. But if you are running an errand that is a 10-minute walk from your house, why drive and miss out on the benefits of walking for stress relief?
Consider all the places you drive to that you could easily walk to. This might be picking your kids up from school, dropping your dog off at the groomer, dropping a book off at the library, or going to Starbucks for a quick cup of coffee. There are probably many missed walking opportunities in your regular schedule.
Take Your Dogs on Longer Walks
Many people with dogs often just let them out in their backyard to go potty and get some sunshine, but walks are important for them and for you! Most dogs love going on walks, whether it is a light stroll once a day, or you take them to the park for longer walks.
Consider going at least 1-2 times a day where you don’t just let your dog out to potty, but use that as an opportunity for a longer walk so that you can get all the health benefits of walking for stress relief. Take a different route in your neighborhood, find a local dog park, or head somewhere quiet that you know dogs are allowed.
Get Your Family Involved
A super easy way to walk more without thinking much about it is to involve your family in the new routine. Walking is so much easier to do when you aren’t going alone and only have yourself to rely on when it comes to motivation. Maybe your partner or spouse wants to go in the evenings, or your kids want to walk with you over the weekend. Grab some friends on your lunch break at work to walk for a few minutes after eating lunch.
Start a New Morning or Nighttime Routine
When you are working on improving your morning or nighttime routine, you can easily add a short walk to it and it becomes its own form of self-care. This makes it easier to add to your schedule, and since it is part of your routine, you don’t even really have to think about it. It becomes such an easy way to get more walking in and reap all the health benefits of walking for stress relief.