How Effective Can Walking Actually Be For Your Mental Health?
shallow focus photography of person walking on road between grass
Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash

How Effective Can Walking Actually Be For Your Mental Health?

Molly Raby April 17, 2022

Speak Up. Reach Out is Freshered's mental health initiative.

We all know that person who says ‘just go for a walk’ after you tell them you’re depressed or having trouble leaving the house. And, while that may be a gross underestimation of how to overcome your current situation, they might have a point.

Obviously, if you have prolonged mental health issues and are feeling as though getting out of bed is a massive barrier, you should talk to a professional.

It has been proven that taking a walk, even for just 10 minutes can do you the world of good! Going for a walk requires no equipment or training. You can literally just get up and go. Maybe take your headphones and get listening to those audio books you bought during lockdown that you forgot about.

The Benefits Of Walking

Walking has both physical and mental benefits. Going for a walk increases your circulation and blood flow to your brain. According to the Walking For Health organisation, ‘physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed.’ Of course, that doesn’t mean that walking makes you immune to mental health issues, but changing your setting and getting some fresh air really can do you the world of good.

Photo by Jeffrey Grospe on Unsplash

Tips To Make Walking Fun

Walking is an activity that needs no gym membership. It can be your new hobby, that you can tailor to yourself.

Find a route that suits you. Make sure you feel comfortable in your surroundings. Walking should be a relaxing activity, so you don’t want to feel on edge.

Be comfortable. You can wear whatever you want when you go walking, but you want to be comfortable. If jeans feel too tight and formal, whack some baggy joggers on and get out there. The only thing you should be wary of is footwear. Whilst sliders may be your go-to for around the house, you probably don’t want to go on a prolonged walk in them. So, some reliable trainers may be the way to go.

Be safe. If you want to walk at night, consider taking a buddy with you or walking in highly populated areas you know well. Also, wear bright clothing with reflectors, so any cars or cyclists can see you.

Finally, have fun! This is all for you. You choose where you walk, for how long, at what time. If you miss a day. Who cares? All that matters is you keep showing up for yourself, and doing those little things to try and make your time on this floating rock a bit better. 

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Molly Raby is a freelance journalist who works closely with GRV Media and Freshered. After completing her BA (Hons) in English Language and Creative Writing at Salford University 2022, she began her journey into the world of journalism and copywriting. In addition to writing for Freshered, Molly also wrote for The Gold and Green Crowd, interviewing jockeys, horse trainers and others within racing industry. Molly has a passion for film and TV as well as a keen interest in sports.