Walking For Stress Management: How Many Steps You Should Walk In A Day? – News18

To burn 100 calories, you have to walk more than a kilometre.

To burn 100 calories, you have to walk more than a kilometre.

The number of steps you should aim for each day to manage stress effectively can vary from person to person

Often regarded as a mundane activity, walking carries profound evolutionary significance. Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara beautifully explores this intricate bond between humanity and the art of walking in his book “In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration.” He takes us on a journey through time, highlighting the discovery of ancient human footprints in South Africa dating back 117,000 years, underscoring how walking is a timeless and unique facet of our species. O’Mara also underscores the significance of walking on two legs and how, even in the age of advanced technology, walking remains a challenge for sophisticated robots.

“It is no wonder that walking, today, is being considered a key factor that can help to enhance our brain structure, and benefit learning and memory. This connection between walking and cognition extends to vital aspects of thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving, unveiling the therapeutic power of a leisurely stroll in tackling life’s challenges,” says Rohit Shelatkar, Fitness & Nutrition Expert, VP Vitabiotics Ltd.

This intriguing link prompts the question: How many daily steps should one aim for to experience stress relief? Let’s delve into the science behind walking and its potential to reduce stress.

The Link Between Walking and Stress Reduction

Walking is a natural and accessible form of exercise that has been shown to have numerous physical and mental health benefits. When it comes to stress management, Shelatkar explains how walking can help:

  1. Stress Hormone ReductionPhysical activity, including walking, prompts the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It also reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol, helping to alleviate feelings of anxiety and tension.
  2. Mindfulness and RelaxationWalking gives you a chance to practise awareness. You may pay attention to your surroundings as you walk, your breathing, and the pattern of your steps. The cognitive activity that frequently comes along with stress can be diminished with the use of mindfulness.
  3. Sleep QualityRegular walks can improve your sleep quality. Better sleep, in turn, reduces stress levels. When you’re well-rested, you’re better equipped to cope with life’s challenges.

So, How Many Steps Should You Walk?

The number of steps you should aim for each day to manage stress effectively can vary from person to person. It depends on some factors such as your fitness level, age, and overall health. According to research carried out by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard University, and published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, taking as few as 4,400 steps a day can significantly reduce the risk of mortality. Additionally, it’s noteworthy to supplement your walking routine with more vigorous exercise sessions.

Shelatkar shares some key points to consider while walking:

  1. Start Gradually: If you aren’t used to walking frequently, it’s important to start off gently and raise your daily step total gradually. Starting out too hard might make you exhausted or perhaps hurt yourself.
  2. Listen to Your Body: Notice how you feel after increased activity. If you experience pain or discomfort, it’s crucial to rest and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.
  3. Consistency Matters: Maintaining consistency is more significant than accumulating a certain number of steps in a single day. Aim for a routine that can help you in the long term.
  4. Quality Over Quantity: While reaching 4,400 steps is a common goal, focusing on the quality of your walk is just as important. Maintain good posture, engage your core, and walk briskly to maximise the benefits.

Walking may be a very effective stress-reduction method. While 4,400 steps per day is a decent beginning point, the most essential thing is to make walking a regular part of your life. Find a speed and regimen that works for your fitness level and schedule and enjoy the stress-relieving advantages that each step brings. Walking reduces stress hormones and improves awareness, relaxation, and better sleep—all essential components of a healthy, less stressful lifestyle. So put on your walking shoes and take the first step towards a more stress-free and balanced existence.

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