Thursday, February 20, 2014

Get those endophines going!

  • I was chatting to my work colleague today about how giving Welly (my dog) a cuddle and a stroke before I got up in the morning set me up right for the day. "Its all about the endorphin release" I commented, to which she replied "if only we could bottle cuddles with our dogs, we'd be rich!"

  • Which naturally led me onto the other things that help me lift my mood, especially in the winter. There's chocolate and the first taste of wine from a glass, that give me a rush of satisfaction.

  • However the effect is very short lived! But walking, in particular Nordic Walking, really has immense power to make me smile and has a long lasting feel good effect! Even in the winter, heading out first thing for a brisk hour long walk completely changes my whole outlook on the day. If it's fresh and frosty all the better. Walking for well being is definitely backed up by research too.
  • Walking and other exercise leads to the release of the body's natural happy drugs -- endorphins. Walkers who walk at a higher heart rate pace will notice this effect more than those who walk at a slower heart rate pace. But even at a slower pace, most people notice an improvement in mood.
  • Many physicians recommend adding regular walking and exercise as a natural treatment to relieve a bout of depression. The cause of depression is related to brain chemistry. By getting your brain to release more of the happy chemicals -- the endorphins -- you achieve naturally what many prescription drugs and herbs try to do artificially.*
  • Walking gives you time to think, as well as time to get away from stressors. Getting out of the stressful environment, breathing the air, and feeling your body move is natural stress-relief. Other ways walking can relieve stress:
  • Put physical and mental distance between you and the stress-causing environment.
  • Many people carry stress by tensing their muscles. By getting into your correct walking posture and form, you un-knot those muscles and put them to work. Nordic Walking enhances walking posture by increasing your core strength, elongating your neck and making your shoulders move correctly while you walk. 
  • Observe the environment around you; enjoy the trees, flowers, birds, gardens, sky, storefronts. Green exercise has enormous benefits. 
  • Feel your body in motion and reconnect with yourself.
  • Wear off stress-eating calories.
  • Take time to work through problems and possible solutions as you walk.
  • Talk and laugh with your walking partner to relieve the stress. Walking with an organised group also increases motivation.
  • Let off steam and vent with your walking partner.
  • Lower your blood pressure and your heart health risk, which can be increased by stress.
  • So why NORDIC WALK rather than walking normally. Nordic Walking increases the effort and intensity of the walk and therefore increases the beneficial effects of walking. In addition learning a new way to walk, and especially with new acquaintances you may meet in a group, enhances enjoyment of the activity. It is very stimulating for the brain to learn new things, and doing so increases a sense of achievement. All the more reason to SMILE!

  • Nordic Walking with Janey Monks of Shepherds Walks
  • For more photos of Nordic Walking in Northumberland click here.

  • * If you feel you are suffering from stress or depression, Pootle recommends that you visit your GP. 

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