Dr. Kirby's Blog

4 Mental Health Benefits of Taking Walks

You likely know the benefits of aerobic exercise for your physical health. But sometimes, it is more convenient to fit a neighborhood walk into your daily routine: walking requires no special equipment or gym membership, and it can serve as an opportunity to clear your head or catch up with a loved one. 

For many of our Kirby Plastic Surgery patients and team members, walking is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And now, research also suggests that it can improve our mental health in these four ways.

1. Walking can help fight depression

Physical activity, such as an hour of walking per day, may help prevent depression, according to a 2019 study. Another large study, involving 4,500 women and men ages 19-91, confirmed that exercise is related to improved mental health. Notably, extreme physical activity is not required: the researchers found that added exercise of any type was linked to improved states of mental health for all sexes and ages.

While you may experience an immediate lift in mood any time you take a walk, walking every day can measurably improve mental health in as little as a few months. A study published in the journal Women & Health found that sedentary women who were encouraged to adopt a walking routine for two months experienced a decrease in depressive mood and an improvement in energy.

2. Taking walks can invite socialization

Finding it difficult to spend time with friends, family, your children, or pets because of your hectic schedule? Invite them to walk with you. Research has found that exercising with friends improves your mental, physical, and emotional outcomes more than exercising alone. Building a walking routine with a friend also helps us stick to a schedule, may allow us to try new paths and routines, and supports talking out issues. 

3. Walking releases tension and lowers stress

You may have heard of a “runner’s high,” temporarily caused by endorphins released during intense exercise. But simply taking a walk also regulates your mood and fights stress. Strapping on your sneakers and taking a walk can:

4. A walk allows you to connect with nature

You do not have to get outdoors to experience the physical benefits of walking, but if you can, there are added benefits. Time spent in nature can lower stress, anxiety, and depression. One study found that spending time in nature boosted self-esteem, and another found that being in green spaces lowered feelings of frustration and improved levels of engagement. Together, connecting with nature and walking can help spark creativity and help us problem solve, so when we walk outdoors we can experience more noteworthy benefits.

About Kirby Plastic Surgery & Kalos Medical Spa in Fort Worth

Kirby Plastic Surgery is a premier plastic surgery facility in Fort Worth owned and operated by female Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Emily J. Kirby. Dr. Kirby and her expert aesthetics team at both Kirby Plastic Surgery and Kalos Medical Spa are fully committed to improving your health and wellness by helping you feel and look your best, both inside and out, with a range of surgical procedures and non-surgical treatments. Contact us online or call (817) 292-4200 to schedule your consultation and learn what our team can do for you.

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