Hope: Why You Should Go For A Walk Or Run

:: this post is part of the ‘hope’ series. it includes bits + pieces of my journey with depression, anxiety + insomnia with the hope that it will illuminate, expose, + help ::

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[snapped by me, via Instagram]

Running. Or walking.

Throughout last year my psychologist kept telling me to “go for a 45-minute walk, outside.. 3 to 5 days a week.” We have an elliptical trainer at home, so I’d go on that a couple of days a week. But, kept telling him I was walking outside too… when I wasn’t (but shhhh).

After doing this for a few months + still being frustrated, annoyed, lethargic, oversleeping, + so on,  I decided one night while driving home to bite the bullet + go for a walk. I knew if I didn’t do it once I returned home, I probably wouldn’t do it the next day either.. or the day after that.

It was late (around 10pm), cold + the rain had just started drizzling. I could have made excuses, but this determination overtook me: “just do it. If you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it.”

Grabbing some runner’s, finding some leggings, long-sleeved top, warm jacket, beanie, + scarf, I grabbed my iPhone, headphones + made my way outside.

That night something awoke in me.

I arrived back home feeling as if a cloud had begun lifting from my mind + the frustration that was building inside of me was slowly being released.

Since then, I make it a point to go walking outside multiple times each week (none of this casual walking either guys, you’ve got to work up a mighty sweat!). And, lately I’ve been working my walk into a run. Yay for progress!

:: why am I telling you this? ::

When depressed + anxious, exercising – or leaving the house – is the last thing you want to do. Everything within your body tells you to keep your butt firmly planted on the couch. If I didn’t have a moment of determination that would still be me. Now it’s much easier to get into it – in fact, I crave it – but  when there’s times I don’t feel like doing it, I know I have to do it even more.

Note: walking or running will not cure your depression. The reason I’m writing about this is that walking has been a magnificent help for my physical, mental, + emotional wellbeing. I am nowhere near being a professional in this area, but it sure is fun learning about + doing it!

This is a gem discovered in Hope Process + I hope it encourages + gives you a little nudge in the right direction.

:: why you should go for a run/walk ::

1. Clears your mind. // There’s something about being outside with nature that does something wonderful to the mind + soul. Sure, it’s great to go to the gym, but being outside, well the benefits are on a whole different level.

2. Keeps you fit + healthy. // Obviously.

3. Gives you time to think. // Some of my best ideas + revelations have been birthed here.

3. Gets you outside. // It’s breaks up your environment + thought pattern of only wanting to be home.

4. It’s what you were created to do. // I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately + will write about it at some point, but pretty much.. we are created to look after ourselves + be healthy. When we don’t, life begins to get a bit whacky + we suffer. Why? Because we’re not looking after our body; the thing that keeps us alive.

5. Makes you happy. // Endorphins, science, all that jazz.. Healthy people are happy people. Fact. The majority of people I walk past smile + say hi. Everyone’s so friendly. It’s beautiful.

6. Let’s the stress go. // You can’t help but return home feeling more at ease.

7. Successful people do it. // Studies have found that successful people run, are morning people, healthier, + have a good self-satisfcation with life.

8. You begin to love life. // When you’re surrounded by life, it can’t help but cause some life to leak back into your world.

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[snapped while on a walk with my skateboarding brother, 12 December, via Instagram]

:: Tips + tricks :: 

// start out once a week.. then twice.. three times.. four. Before you know it, you’ll be wanting to do it.

// create a regular path. One of the reasons I put off walking for so long was the ‘fear of the unknown – where would I go?’ Once I started, I made sure to walk the same path for a while + then began mixing it up a little (plus got competitive with beating my times). Creating a regular path makes you feel more comfortable + at ease.

// if you’re nervous about what you look like, go in the early hours of the morning/evening/night while you gain some confidence. It’s dark-ish. No-one can really see you. Don’t let that silly, little, annoying voice + reason put you off.

// buy quality runner’s. Your feet will thank you. (note: bought myself a good pair for Christmas – pic at the top – LOVE them! Puts a definite spring in my step).

// your muscles are supposed to be sore + you’re supposed to sweat. It means your muscles are being used + sweat, well, it’s like the saying: “sweat is just your fat crying.

// download the Nike+ app. It’s amazing. Tracks your time, pace, length, + so forth. Plus, it maps where you’re going which is a major plus when taking new routes.

// listen to podcasts. I try to listen to ones that go between 40 minutes to an hour. Because it’s one track, there’s no stopping to change songs etc etc. At the moment my favourite is the Elevation Church podcast with Steven Furtick. He’s a passionate communicator, it makes me feel empowered + be all, “yeah I can do this!!” when I want to stop.

// find what time of the day suits you best. Then stick to it.

..if you’re a regular walker or runner – what tips do you have? Would love to know! x

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham