5 Psychological Reasons Walking Needs To Be Part Of Your Workout

As a person who doesn’t have a regular exercise schedule because of all of my college activities, I have to figure out another way to keep my body healthy. One of the things I use  to keep my body fit is to take a daily walk.
There are three strong reasons why I recommend walking as your daily exercise. First, there is a low possibility of you getting injured (unless you walk with bare feet, which I highly don’t recommend). Second, we don’t have to have anything to do it, but our own motivation. Lastly, it offers many physical and psychological benefits.
While there are many medical explanations as to why walking is good for us,  I’m going to tell you about some hidden psychological benefits from taking a walk daily:
1. It can act as mindfulness meditation
Meditation is a practice to concentrate our focus on the mind in order to feel relaxed or at ease. Meanwhile, mindfulness is a state of active and an open attention on the present. When we are mindful, we tend to have a nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience, without rejecting anything. Meditation is what leads us to be mindful.
Walking can be a meditative practice because when our body is in motion, it is easier for us to be aware of it, compared to when we are sitting still. If we want to do the walking meditation, we have to be willing to fully recognize the movements as we walk. Try to notice all the different sensations in your feet, notice the qualities of the sensations in your joints, and notice what the calf muscles are doing as you  are walking. Embrace all the sensations until you reach your state of mindfulness.
2. It can lead you to self-discovery
After we have focused on the sensations of the muscles in our body, try to focus on the world outside; recognize the air as we inhale and exhale, see the people in our surroundings, and notice all the small things that we didn’t recognize before. Walking gives us time to observe and to understand the world that we live in. After you  are fully aware of your surroundings, try to identify the things about yourself; your passions, hobbies, routines, and about who you  truly are as a human being.
3. It maintains your state of well-being
Science has proved that being in daylight helps keep our circadian rhythms appropriately aligned with the place that we live in order to prevent us from stress. Moreover, being in daylight also improves our positive moods, such as the improvement of our self-esteem, which can lead us to reach our general state of well-being.
4. It’s good for your brain
Walking can improve our cognitive performance, specifically our working memory. Our memory and attention span will be improved up to 20 percent by taking a walk outside. Moreover, being in the daylight can lead to more creative thinking . A study has found that when people tackled mental tasks that required imagination, walking led to more creative thinking than sitting did.
5. It makes you more sociable
Walking, especially with friends, can develop strong social bonds and can be a stress-relieving activity. From taking a walk outside, we have the chance to meet new people and to connect with others. Walking can give us a broader network of relationships and it can lead to us having more social supports from our surroundings.
So, let’s try to walk outside more often, especially in this summer. A regular 20-30 minute walk will definitely not only improve our psychological well-being, but also help us achieve a healthy body and perfectly tanned skin. Don’t forget to apply some beauty products to protect your skin from UV light and let’s savor this summer with a healthy mind and body. Happy walking!
Featured image via luisafere
Originally published at Unwritten (June 2, 2016)