It’s a question that was posed to me a few months ago and as a result, I’ve been walking every other week with a friend. It is a time of encouragement, fresh air (although the weather seems to turn poor only on those walking days!), exercise, and sometimes general brain dumping about our lives.
As we exit the pandemic and look for ways to reconnect with friends, I think this is one of the best options. Loneliness and isolation have become normal and we need to breakthrough. A walk with a friend can be just the thing…for our physical and mental health.
I just attended a seminar on mental wellness and one of the things I was reminded about was how to naturally care for my mental health. As I look at the Happy Brain Chemicals, a walk with a friend can help increase them all!
- Oxytocin: the “love hormone” helps us feel connected. Doing something nice for someone (inviting someone to join you) increases your oxytocin and theirs! Everyone wants to feel like they belong and this is one way to remind someone they are important to you.
- Serotonin: the “mood stabilizer” is increased when we are out in nature, take in sunshine, and exercise. All of which (hopefully) are involved in a walk!
- Endorphins: “natural pain killers” increase with laughing and exercise. So make sure you get some laughs in while you make the loop around the park or neighborhood.
- Dopamine: the “reward chemical” increases when we check things off of our list and also when we participate in self-care activities. So write “Take a Walk” on your list and check it off!
In addition to lifting our mood and reconnecting with a friend, we are increasing our physical health by getting that body moving. Am I the only one that came out of 2020 with (ahem) more of me? As we look at ways to put 2020 behind us, maybe one of those ways is to get rid of the extra weight that seemed to appear.
Going on a walk,