Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anxiety, Depression & Stress Management - Silly Walks Rule!

 It's an old saying, but when you're having a bad day or struggling with strong emotions, to 'walk it off' makes perfect sense. There's a meditative reward to walking. The repeated  motion of swinging your arms and thrusting your legs forward does seem to calm the brain. (perhaps not these people, to my left) And it certainly helps the body, toning and relaxing cramped muscles, aiding in weight management and the best thing of all - stimulation of the immune system. Exercise has been scientifically proven to help with depression and anxiety.
The Black Dog Institute has some great info  here 
"Research suggests that regular exercise may increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in mood, sleep, libido, appetite and other functions, and has been linked to depression. Exercise may also increase endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain with ‘moodlifting’ properties."
So why don't we do it? It seems to take effort to commit to a daily walk, when we've so much to do, such busy lives. I thought about it recently - how much time do I spend watching TV, on facebook, talking on the phone? Aren't the benefits of a little exercise, outside in the fresh air, the longevity and better health worth it? So I made a decision. Because that's all it is really. Now I grab the dog leads and head out the door before I can talk myself out of it. I found if I leave it 'until later' it doesn't happen. I'm too tired at the end of the day, especially in winter, when the idea of snuggling up near the fire is so much more appealing. I'm so lucky to live in a mountainous region of Australia, an area of natural beauty, where gorgeous bushwalks, waterfalls, creeks and cliffs are at my doorstep. The girls (our dogs) absolutely love this new routine, running around off-leash, reading their weemails. Their enthusiasm for life infects me. Life is good! So get out there and enjoy it.
cheers, Dawn

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