Walking through lockdown
Like most people with Lockdown 3.0, I have been struggling with motivation and have noticed myself feel lower. However, there are a few things I have worked out that can help me with this, one of the main strategies being to go on a daily walk. I know it is so often talked about but there really are so many benefits to walking, from emotional to physical.
Emotionally, there is strong evidence that walking can prevent and treat depression and anxiety. It also may improve positive mental health outcomes such as happiness and self-esteem. As with any physical activity, walking will release endorphins, also known as happy hormones! I find that when I go on a walk, it gives me a change in scenery and a chance to clear my head.
It can be a great opportunity to listen to a podcast; some that I have been enjoying are Just a Tip with Megan Batoon, Girls Gotta Eat with Rayna Greenberg and Ashley Hesseltine and Good Influence with Gemma Styles (of course there are tons more). Alternatively, you could completely leave your phone behind and enjoy the simplicity and beauty of nature, particularly on a day with good weather. Going on a walk will also relive your brain from mental fatigue. Being in front of a screen all day means our brains don’t have a chance to switch off and normalise, walking outside gives your brain that chance.
Did you know that after 3 minutes of walking, your blood pressure decreases? After 5, your mood improves, after 5-10, creative thinking improves and by 90 minutes outside, the number of depressive thoughts reduces.
There are a number of physical benefits to walking too, including reduced blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, cuts blood cholesterol, lowers risk of breast, colon cancer and heart disease etc, etc. Daily walking can also help to tone your body. Walking is much more manageable and sustainable than running if you are not a runner. It can also be a more social activity, you could go with a family member or someone else you are living with for company.
Some apps you could use to help with daily walks are: RouteBuddy, OutDoors GreatBritain, MapMyWalk, ViewRanger and Runkeeper (also works for walks).
By Molly Hopkinson-Woolley