Therapeutic Benefits of Walking
Walking is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. It activates deep biological processes for health, balance, and wellbeing, supporting both physical and mental health. Our bodies are designed to walk as our main mode of getting from one place to another, and many of our biological systems work best when we are in motion.
When we go for a walk, our circulation increases, which nourishes our whole body with blood and oxygen. This nourishment provides what our tissues need to repair themselves, often solving minor issues before we even notice them.
Walking also helps calm the mind and reduce the effects of stress. The rhythm of walking helps us enter a light meditative state, which then regulates breathing, lowers stress hormones, and can bring a sense of peace and calm.
The actual act of putting one foot in front of the other keeps our bodies and minds in conversation with each other. The motion of it involves complex interactions between muscles, bones, and connective tissues. Walking helps tune up those interactions, and increase coordination in general.
Going outside to walk increases all these benefits by adding fresh air and uneven ground. The fresh air, open space, and interactions with nature all help to boost the immune system and regulate sensory processing, and may offer a sense of peacefulness. Uneven ground keeps our coordination and stabilization systems active, reducing the likelihood of falling and helping improve joint health.
Going for a walk is one of the most fundamental self-care practices we can do. It directly supports comprehensive mental and physical health, which in turn increases our internal feelings of vitality and our overall sense of wellbeing.