24 Jan Inspiration to walk yourself happy!
“If you are in a bad mood go for a walk.If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.” –
How is it for you? Do you feel better after a run, walk or a hike? I certainly do!
It’s true. Hiking, walking and/or being physically active makes us happy and gives many other health benefits. In fact, it changes our brain chemistry and makes our brain function much better. Not only that, we become more focused, creative and productive. For me, physical activity has truly been and continue to be a fountain of inspiration, creativity and well being. Like for many others, I am not the only one who is positively effected by physical activity.
What about you? Have you noticed enhanced focus, concentration and memory?
Even if you don’t want to hike mountains, take a 40- minute walk in a park, forrest or anywhere and notice how you feel. Or take up a favourite sport or go jogging. Find out below, why this is so important to live a healthy and happy life.
Just keep moving!
If you are in doubt or want to know more about the subject, I recommend a book that can convince you to get started or motivate you to keep going. Translated into English it is called, Get Brainstrong, Train yourself happy and smart. Unfortuntaly, as far as I know it’s only available in Swedish and Norwegian. I have therefore summarized a few important points below.
In his book, Bli hjernesterk – Tren deg lykkelig og smart, Anders Hansen explains in an easy and understanding way how important it is to be pysical active and why. In short, he says that we will feel better and less stressed if we take time to move. He even promises that if we occasionally take an hour of our worktime to exercise, we will get more done in the rest of our working hours that day. So it increases productivity and is one of the best stress relievers. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol and has other important effects on how the brain functions.
You may well have experienced this already. If not – it’s never too late to start moving, walking, or exercising in a way that is appealing to you. If you suffer from stress, anxiety, depression or any other health issues, this can particularly help you get much better, quickly.
Researchers are also indicating that physical activity is one of the important factors to prevent Alzheimers, which is on an alarming rise in the world population.
The suggested braindose
At the end of his book, Hansen suggest what he believes is the best braindose for maximal effect. Although he does emphasise that there is no exact answer.
You are correct. We have to experiment to find the right exercise. Just like stress. We all react differently. What triggers stress in me may be way different for you. And how we manage it is also very individual.
Hansen tells us that the brain counts every step. It’s better for us to move for 30 minutes than 5 minutes. But 5 minutes is good too. Do something fun!
Obviously we get best effect with 30 minutes, he says. Although, the best is to run, at least 45 minutes, 3 times a week and get a high puls. He continues to say that fitness/cardio training effects the brain most positively. Therefore, he suggests that we compliment weight exercise with fitness training.
Furthermore, he explains that intervall training is good for fitness but since it’s a greater chance we get too tired afterwards it has a lesser effect on the brain. For example, we don’t get as creative after strenious exercise, as we do with running at a normal pace. Although intervall training has good long term effects.
Remember, it takes time for the brain to change, to build new braincells, strengthening connections and patterns and to increase blood circulation. Therefore, the greatest result and change comes with consitent physical exercise over time.
The perfect place to start – is right where you are now
And if you have not yet started. Get going.
Feel good. Be happy. Nature has a calming effect on our nervous system and it helps alleviate stress, depression and anxiety.
Perhaps you are already motivated to do physical activity. If not, get some structure in place. With a weekly plan you create a rutine. Set a realistic goal. Invite a friend. Prioritize your health. Book a group session or hike. There are many groups and guides who are more than happy for you to join. There are unlimited possibilites depending on where you are at and what you want to do.
You are at a perfect place to start exactly where you are. Choose what your body wants to do or is longing for. When your body gets into it, it feels so good that it will effortlessly become part of your everyday and you will find time to do it.
Or if you don’t know, ask yourself:
What do I need right now?
What do I love doing that makes me feel happy?
Or maybe you have to do it, experience it, to get going before you feel the happy hormones.
This is what I did
I was never a runner until I in 2000 started jogging when I was on sabatical for 3 months in Vancouver, Canada. After my divorce I had met another man and thought we were going to get engaged. But no! Instead, he broke up with me at the end of his visit to Vancouver. I was destrought and heartbroken. Jogging became my therapy. I was lucky to live right next door to a huge park in the middle of Vancouver. Every day after work, I went jogging for at least an hour. At the time I was not consciously aware of the positive effects but it didn’t take long before I felt my happy self. It felt as though I ran it off and I could think more clearly. This was the beginning of ten years of running, at least four to five days a week.
In 2009 this all changed when I quit my full time job and left my private psychology practice to travel. My knees and hips also wanted a change. I travelled extensively for two years and did a lot of hiking. When I returned my body was longing for balance, nurturance and grounding. I started yoga, which became a daily integral part of my lifestyle seven days a week. By the way this gradually took place over three years. Two years ago I had a disc prolapse in my lower back with severe sciatica. My initial medicine was walking and yoga. After eight months, I started intervall/strengthening training at Barry’s Boothcamp in Bergen. I have never trained at a gym before and I simply love it.
My personal experience
I am now doing a combination of hiking, yoga and intervall/fitness/ strengthening exercises. I must say that when I was jogging for an hour, a few times a week, the inpirational flow was remarkable. I still get this when I go hiking or do other exercise.
From personal experience, I do agree with Hansen that jogging in a normal pace gives great inspiration and creative juices. Perhaps I have to start running again! However, there is plenty of research supporting that nature, walking and hiking also has a positive effect on our overall health and well being. So if you love hiking or would like to do more of it – keep going. There is a time for everything. Our body knows what it needs. We just have to listen.
My book, Walking Into It. A Pilgrimage through Foreign Lands was a result of walking the Camino in Spain and a pilgrimage hike in the Indian Himalayas where I connected with the true nature of my inner self and the spiritual energy of the sacred land.
All I can say, walking is truly transformational. Go where you are called to go. And if you can, do a combination of things.
Play and feel happy!
Whatever makes you happy – works!
One can therefore conclude that regular physical activity is the key to ultimate brain power, which in turn is the fuel for our body, mind and soul.
With joy xx
PS I would love to hear what works for you. And if you found this post helpful please comment and share.
PSSIf you are interested in some awesome hikes in Norway, look out for my next post. The pictures in this post is from summer hiking (2019).