Several years ago I was diagnosed with hypertension otherwise known as high blood pressure. My doctor told me to modify my diet and to begin an exercise program. He also said that if I lost weight my blood pressure should begin to stabilize and eventually I could come off the medication that was prescribed. I knew I needed to lose weight and I wanted to be around in this world for many more years to come. So the exercise program I chose was walking. All I needed was a decent pair of walking shoes and I was good to go. Besides there are so many great benefits to walking, that I decided to give it a try.
Initially I walked for about 10 minutes a day, but it was a brisk walk. Over a period of about six months, I was able to increase that time to where I am today, 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week. I’m shooting for 60 minutes but that will take time. Of course, I experienced many of the physical benefits associated with walking, too numerous to mention here. However, I also experienced one major emotional benefit that should be of considerable interest to you if you have depression. From the very first day I began walking, not week, not month, but day, I actually felt better when I ended my walk than before I started
I knew the reason for this sudden elevation in my mood had to do with walking because I did not change my medication and I had had no therapy for a number of years. I figured if walking helped me when my depression was pretty much in remission, it could really help the person who is still battling it..
If you’re like me and you have depression, the levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well being) in our brain are at lower levels than the average persons. However, any regular exercise, including a brisk walk, causes the levels of serotonin in our brain to rise and we feel better. No extra medicine, no extra therapy, just plain good old fashioned walking.
So get those walking shoes on and get out there. However, before you go, read the following 5 time tested ways to walk off depression:
1. Start walking for 10 minutes– Typically when most people think of walking they figure they have to walk for a long period of time on a daily basis in order to start to see the benefits in terms of weight loss. That may be true if your number one goal is to lose weight. But as a person with depression your number one goal should be to start feeling better. The good news is that you can start feeling better within a matter of minutes as long as you take a brisk walk. If 10 minutes is too much for you to begin with, then start with 5 minutes and build up from there. Build up to at least 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
2. Be in the moment – Fortunately for us, our brains can only concentrate on one thing at a time. That is why we cannot have negative thoughts while we are focusing our mind on what is going on around us at the moment we are walking. So while your serotonin levels are increasing, notice the kids playing on the street, the feel of the wind against your face, and make sure you look up in the sky for the clouds and the airplanes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the time goes by and how good you’ll feel.
3. Get back to nature – If there is a park, forest preserve, or any other area in your neighborhood where you can get back to nature, then by all means take advantage and walk there. Use four of your five senses to focus your thoughts on and really experience everything around you. Look at the birds, smell the fresh air, listen to the wind, and touch the trees. The more you are engaged in your surrounding environment the better you will feel.
4. Listen to some music – If you’re able, listen to some music as you walk. Make sure that the music is upbeat, none of that sad stuff that could put you into a deeper depression. Focusing your mind on the music not only relieves depression, it’s a great way to relief stress as well. Tapes that are made specifically for walking can be found online or in fitness stores.
5. Find a walking buddy – This really can be important if depression has caused you to isolate yourself from others. Social support is extremely important in order for you to face your depression head on. Ask a close friend or relative to walk with you. Having someone to support you can really help you stay motivated especially on those days when your depressive symptoms are working to get the best of you.
I understand that walking might take some effort on your part. Many people who suffer from depression, especially clinical depression, simply do not want to get out of bed let alone go outside and walk. But the truth of the matter is this, if you want to kick your symptoms of depression to the curb, you have to be proactive. Nobody can walk for you. You have to do it yourself.
Having said that, remember to talk to your doctor before starting your walking program. Also don’t forget that walking is not a substitute for the other treatments of depression. You’ll still need to take your medicine, go to therapy, or both. Walking is however an outstanding compliment to these other standard treatments. So get out there, get that serotonin flowing, and enjoy feeling better. Happy walking.
Dave Kanofsky is a proud affiliate with Wealth Creations Network, your zero out of pocket way to creating wealth. Dave Kanofsky is also passionate about helping people who have depression to overcome their symptoms and to create wealth for themselves. So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and start to make money online.
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