BETTER LIVING THROUGH EXERCISE: Walking can improve your life

Walking

The most simple, affordable prescription for increased wellness? Take a walk.

It is common knowledge that exercise is important for the overall health of the body. What is not as well-known is how good regular exercise can be for mental health.  Regular exercise can boost mood, relieve stress, and have a positive impact on mental health.  Exercise as low impact and accessible as walking can have a profound effect on overall health.  People who get regular exercise report all kinds of improvements in health. They get better sleep, feel less stressed out, and feel more mentally alert. Further, a study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2014 demonstrated that group walks in nature can mitigate the effects of stress and increase happiness.

Some of the most noteworthy benefits of regular physical activity are:

  • Better, deeper sleep
  • Increased endurance, energy, and stamina
  • Improved mood
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Weight loss

 

Physical health benefits

Aside from the obvious calorie burning and increase in cardiovascular stimulation, walking has other physical health benefits. Sleep is vital to optimal wellness and exercise has been shown to help people achieve better, deeper sleep. It also lowers risk of diabetes. Regular exercise can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Walking daily or several times each week can bring numerous health benefits and also help control weight. Overall, regular exercise has been shown to increase lifespan and, as you will read in the next section, make you feel better, as well.

Mental wellness benefits

Some days we don’t feel as good as others. Whether as a result of physical stimulus, poor diet, or stress, there are times when we don’t feel as good as we’d like to. Walking can help. Research has shown that exercise relieves stress. Because physical activity increases norepinephrine, a stress moderating chemical, tensions decrease with movement.  Additionally, taking a short walk during the work day can boost productivity and improve brain performance. Physical activity can also improve creativity,  self-esteem, and mood. Regular exercise also increases the production of the cells responsible for memory and learning, boosting memory and the ability to learn new things.

Walking is one of the easiest, most effective ways to improve your health.  With all of these physical and mental benefits, it’s silly not to give it a try.

References

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/23/walk-nature-depression_n_5870134.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/mental-health-benefits-exercise_n_2956099.html|
http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201409/walking-depression-and-beating-stress-outdoors-nature-group
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/|
http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201008/go-walk
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/emotional-benefits-of-exercise.htm
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Walk-Dont-Run-Your-Way-to-a-Healthy-Heart_UCM_452926_Article.jsp#.V6nNnoMrJhF

About Behavioral Health Professionals, Inc.:

Established in 2002 and headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, BHPI is a Managed Behavioral Health Organization offering behavioral health services through a fully integrated network of world class healthcare providers.  Our emphasis is on adding value for our customers by offering expert behavioral care management, medical coordination, and behavioral disease and chronic behavioral condition management.  BHPI offers collaborative solutions by building strong partnerships with health plans, health systems, community mental health organizations, and employer groups.   For more information visit:BHPI.org