Throughout the past year, living during a pandemic in New York City, I took up walking as a coping mechanism. A year into it, I’m averaging 10,000 steps a day and I am seeing the positive effects that it had on my mental health.
A good walk has been scientifically proven to do wonders for your mental health and well-being. For those of us who find it hard to commit to an exercise regimen and routine, walking can be our saving grace. The very lowkey approach to it makes all the difference in the world. When I’m setting out to go for a walk, I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself about it. I just prepare a playlist, and go out and start walking. I am lucky to live near the Williamsburg Bridge, which allows for a regimented walk, but I also, more often than not, just walk around anywhere and everywhere. Now, whenever I feel anxious or overwhelmed, I put on my walking shoes and I just step outside.
Being active, in any way, shape, or form, has a whole range of benefits when it comes to mental well-being. Not only does it improve your health, but it also improves self-perception, and self-esteem. It stabilizes your mood and has an incredibly positive effect on your sleep quality. It reduces stress, anxiety, as well as fatigue.
I’ve been walking on a daily basis for about a year now, and I’m not someone who is prone to exercise or working out. But this small difference that I made in my routine, like taking a walk after lunch, going to get a coffee, and taking a walk after ending my work day, has changed my whole mood and levels of anxiety. The best part about it is that it’s very low commitment, and it becomes something that you actually crave as a form of catharsis. If you’re someone who can’t bring themselves to commit to working out on a regular basis, start taking short walks everyday, and in due time, you will realize how much it will change your life.