The secret to lowering stress, improving your mood and decreasing cravings…

…is to go for a leisurely walk!

Other than running, lifting weights and yoga, walking is my favourite activity.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, you have no excuse! So who is up for a walking challenge?  Why not? Oh you think it’s a waste of time and doesn’t count as exercise? Well you’re right, it doesn’t count as a workout, because it is supposed a leisurely walk through the park or around the block.  If you still think that you don’t have time for that, well you are someone who probably needs it the most!  Walking does not count as exercise but it should be viewed as a necessity and here is why…

Walking helps reduce your stress levels, sheds hunger and cravings and negative self talk.  Leisurely walking has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is released when the body is under stress (physical or mental), and is meant to help us escape any life threatening situation. For example, we are being chased by a bear, we see the bear, stress hormones are released into the bloodstream, so we can fight or flight-the-hell-out-of-there. Once we escape the bear, we calm down and stress hormones return to normal.

Luckily, we aren’t having to run from bears or other large scary animals everyday, but stress from work and school, a bad interview, and endless to-do lists keep our cortisol levels high moment after moment, day after day.  This is not good.

When cortisol levels stay too high, for too long, it causes us to lose muscle, store fat, and develop serious junk food cravings.

Taking a nice relaxing walk through Gatineau Park (or your neighbourhood) is just what we need to bring our stress hormones back to normal. This is the power of walking. It relaxes and lowers our stress hormone levels.

Walking daily, especially though nature, impacts your health on a hormonal level. It improves your mood, decreases your stress, lowers hunger, increases energy, improves sleep, and can help release fat from the fat cells.

This, in turn, has a huge impact on your life. When you’re less hungry and have fewer cravings for pizza, it can lead to a leaner physique. When your mood is improved, so is you personal life. And when you sleep better, stress less, and have more energy you’re more productive at work and have more energy to exercise!

So after reading this have you been convinced to make walking a priority?  Let’s do a 30 day challenge: can you make time for walking everyday for the next month? Try it, and see what happens. Even if you only end up walking every other day, you’ll be sure to see improvements in your life.

Who is joining me?

Les 🙂

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