Want to stay healthy and get rid of stress? Are you too busy to exercise? No problem! Contrary to popular belief, it’s no need to spend long hours in the gym to keep fit. Walking for as little as 10 minutes a day can boost your health and well-being. It’s a great way to lift your mood, get rid of stress, and maintain joint flexibility. This simple exercise can add years to your life and keep your brain sharp.

Get Moving to Manage Stress

When you’re juggling a full time job, family life, and other responsibilities, stress can take a toll on your health. Over time, it affects your productivity as well as your problem-solving skills, cognitive function, and memory. You may experience mood swings, fatigue, and body aches. Stress affects every system in your body, including digestion, breathing, and cardiovascular function. Research shows that stress can worsen panic attacks, anxiety, asthma, and heart disease.

“… regular physical activity can relax the mind, ward off depression, and prevent stress-related disorders.

This factor has an immediate effect on your health. When you’re stressed, your cortisol levels increase. As a result, your body enters the fight-or-flight mode and your muscles become tensed. In the short term, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, if you’re constantly stressed, your health will suffer. Prolonged and chronic stress may lead to sleep disorders, heart attacks, poor circulation, arrhythmia, depression, migraines, weight gain, abdominal obesity, digestive problems, and high blood pressure. In the long run, your immune system will become weaker and lose its ability to fight diseases.

It’s no secret that physical activity helps relieve stress and anxiety. According to psychologists, exercise improves the brain’s ability to fight stress and recover from traumatic events. Moreover, it improves immune response and eases muscle tension. People who work out regularly will tell you how great it makes them feel. Some say that exercise boosts serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. These “feel-good” hormones regulate the mood and emotions. Others claim that working out increases their confidence and self-esteem, which in turn, leads to a better mood.

Surprisingly, exercise itself puts stress on the body and raises cortisol levels. However, physical stress is different from mental stress. Scientists suggest that regular physical activity can relax the mind, ward off depression, and prevent stress-related disorders. When you’re working out, your brain releases endorphins, which are known as the “happiness hormones.” These chemicals are responsible for the so-called “runner’s high.”

For instance, you may have noticed that running, jogging, and other aerobic activities calm your mind instantly. As your strength and endurance increase, you become more self-secure and better about yourself. Exercise also helps build discipline, sense of control, and other skills that can help you succeed in your daily life. These factors combined reduce the harmful effects of stress on your mind and body.

A 10-minute walk can lower your risk of having a heart attack by half..

In clinical trials, anxious patients who exercised were less hyperactive and jittery after just one session. According to researchers, post-exercise euphoria lasts for up to 120 minutes after finishing leaving the gym. Basically, your endorphin levels stay high for as long as two hours post workout. In addition, certain activities, such as yoga, meditation, walking, and stretching relieve stress to a greater extent than others. It appears that solo exercise is more effective against stress and anxiety compared to group fitness classes

Walk Your Way to Better Health

Walking is touted as one of the easiest, most effective ways to calm your mind and body. A 10-minute walk can lower your risk of having a heart attack by half. This activity is particularly beneficial for those with a sedentary lifestyle. Studies have found that walking for just 10 minutes after a meal can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics to a greater extent than a daily 30-minute walk. Subjects who took short walks immediately after eating experienced a 12 percent reduction in blood glucose.

This simple activity promotes mental and physical health, lowers the stress hormone cortisol levels, and regulates your heart rate. Not to mention that it’s great way to keep fit! Walking can add up to seven years to your life and slow down aging. In a study, people who walked for 10 minutes a day had lower levels of 20 blood compounds linked to fat loss, blood sugar control, energy levels, metabolism, cholesterol, and immune function.

Other studies have shown that walking can help prevent brain shrinkage and memory loss in older adults. This activity is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate depression. Its health benefits go beyond stress relief. Just 10 minutes of walking can dramatically lower heart disease risk, protect against dementia, and enhance mental focus. In the long run, this habit can improve brain function, boost creativity, and increase lung capacity. So, are you ready to include walking in your routine? Simply park your car further from the office or talk a short walk after work. Go for a walk during your lunch break, head over to a co-worker’s office instead of calling, and stay active through the day.

It’s that simple!

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