Sport and fitness walking are recognised ways of better managing stress. When it comes to well-being, there is nothing quite like regularly doing a gentle activity such as fast walking in order to boost your morale. How does it work?
WALKING: THE PERFECT STRESS-MANAGEMENT SPORT
Stress occurs every time you are confronted with a problem both at work and in your everyday life. The benefits of sport have long been lauded for helping you to deal with these situations.
Pauline, a digital communications manager, uses her lunch break as often as she can to go fitness walking. "When I go walking during my lunch hour, it's really relaxing and a great way of switching off my brain from any worries at the office. I get a bit of fresh air and recharge my batteries for the rest of the day!"
Emmanuel Lassalle, a long-distance walker and experienced solo walker, recognises the positive effects walking has on his everyday life.
"This sport gives your body and mind a breath of fresh air. I think about lots of things when I walk, and manage to resolve certain problems in my life. I love my long walks. It's a chance to get some real 'me time'. Sometimes, I don't even feel like I'm doing sport!"
WHY IS FITNESS WALKING A SOURCE OF WELL-BEING?
By walking energetically at a fast pace, your body will produce up to 5 times more endorphins than when you are at rest.
Known as the "happiness hormone", endorphins are a source of well-being for the mind. They help you to think positive thoughts and prevent stress from getting you down.
During a gentle and moderate physical exercise such as fitness walking, your blood will also be better oxygenated. This is where you get that sense of serenity and calm that you feel during and after your fitness walking sessions.
To fully enjoy these destressing benefits, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes at your endurance pace. This is also the pace at which you will burn the most calories!
OUR TIPS FOR STRESS-FREE WALKING
1 – Your movements should be relaxed
The first signs of stress generally appear in your shoulders and back. In order to effectively eliminate this tension, you need to perform wide and relaxed movements, particularly around your arms.
2 – Smile!
By relaxing your face muscles and remembering to smile, you will enjoy your walking even more and make your session more fun. Smiling gets rid of negative emotions.
3 – Have a bit of 'me time'!
During your fitness walking session you should always be able to hold a conversation. But you can also walk solo in order to be alone with your thoughts. Choose routes that are away from any traffic and pollution.
Among all of the benefits that fitness walking offers, the fact that it boosts your morale and helps you better manage stressful periods in the long term is undeniable. Don't forget that to give yourself a fresh start for the better, you need to go walking regularly (2 to 3 times per week) rather than psyching yourself up for a double dose at the weekend!