Walking to relieve stress?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2012
Walking to relieve stress?
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 9:39am

Hi everyone (or anyone). I have been going through a very stressful time in my life and decided I needed to get professional help for myself. One of the things suggested was that I do some exercise, like walking, because studies suggest it can help relieve stress. Does anyone have any experience with this? How far do you need to walk and how do you get started on a regular exercise program?

Thank you to anyone who may reply.

Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 9:48am

As long as you are healthy (e.g., barring any medical issues), I would think that starting out with a brisk 20 minute walk twice a day would be good, and then work your way up in 5 - 10 minute increments.  I think the trick is to find something you really enjoy doing, which can take some persistence.  For example, I now LOVE yoga, but that took me about 6 months to really "get into" the classes.  Dancing is good, dogtraining with lots of walking...any physical activity that brings you joy is good for elevating your mood.

 When I was really "down," I also created a Happiness Journal, where I taped in any pictures or cards or sayings that brought me joy.  I started by looking through magazines...anything that sparked my interest or made me happy went into the journal.  Whever I felt down, I would go to my journal to bring that mood back up.  Meditating on good thoughts for 5 - 10 minutes at a time is helpful, as well.  I think that, sometimes, we have to retrain our mind to be happy because we get stuck in a "down mode" which makes us continue to spiral downwards.  

Good luck, and let us know how things are going!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 7:32pm
I find exercise a huge stress reliever...walking, swimming, Zumba, weightlifting, Pilates...even running...all have someeithermindless element that I find meditative or require so much focus that the stress thoughts get crowded out. I agree that a 20 minute walk is a good start. If you live in the one or two stats not freezing, outside walking is a good way to get fresh air. I like to walk on the beach in the summer, and some people like walking on the track at a local high school. If youhave to be inside, even the cheapest gyms have treadmills....that can be boring unless. There is good people watching, but it is still relaxing. Best wiishes
Community Leader
Registered: 04-05-2002
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 8:02pm

Sorry to hear about what you're going through.  Exercise can be a big reliever for stress and it doesn't matter what you do, but I think the key is to find something you do enjoy.  Keep at a brisk pace, where you can still talk, hold a conversation but couldn't sing a song easily.  I'd add the caveat that if trying to get exercise is causing stress then don't.  You don't need to add stress to your life!  But, if you find something you enjoy, then keeping to it won't be hard.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2014
Sat, 02-15-2014 - 2:19pm

While there are many proven ways to cope with stress, physical activity works best for me too.  A few minutes of physical activity and walk in the morning relieves my stress greatly. To reap the maximum benefits from walking it should be aerobic.