There is a green park about 5 minutes from where I live. I go there every other day to take long walks that last for an hour. My son prefers running, I envy his energy but I prefer walking. Nothing clears the mind better than a quick burst of physical activity and fresh air.
Exercise is one way to combat stress. The benefits of exercise are strongest when you do it consistently. For example, when you exercise regularly, you are less anxious.
This happens because your stress hormones are lowered during exercise and chemicals called endorphins are released which helps to improve your mood. Also, doing exercise improves your sleep quality, as bad sleep hygiene can induce stress and anxiety.
It is recommended according to the World Health Organisation, that adults aged 18–64, should do a physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate - and vigorous-intensity activity. This is to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, reduce the risk of NCDs and depression.
Inactive people can start with small amounts of physical activity and gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity over time. Inactive adults and those with disease limitations will have added health benefits when they become more active.
Go for a jog, swim or bike ride several times a week. If you feel like you cannot fit exercise into your day, do small switches instead such as getting off the bus a stop early or cycling to work or the shops instead of driving.
Dr Oritseweyinmi Erikowa-Orighoye
Educator, Development and Career Consultant