Walking upright is the most important thing that human beings ever did. It is what separated us from all other species on this planet and gave us an evolutionary edge. It is so second nature to us and seems so simple that people hardly realize the value and benefits of it. How can something so simple and easy be beneficial is the common misconception. The truth and scientific fact is that walking is the single best thing you can do for your body and mind. The benefits of walking to the body are numerous and are more well-known than its benefits to the mind. It has been proven time and time again that from controlling blood pressure and blood sugar to improving cardiovascular, bone and lung health walking is pretty much good for the entire body. What is lesser known is that walking is the best gift you can give to your mind and is a godsend for depressed individuals.
Depression is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness that can be chronic, debilitating, and in severe cases life threatening. Conventional medicine has very little to offer in treating this illness. When a depressed individual goes to a doctor he is always given a prescription for antidepressants. This might be a good idea for severely depressed patients but it has been clinically proven that people with mild to moderate depression will benefit no more than a placebo pill from these medicines. Furthermore these medications come with a plethora of side effects and can take from weeks to months to have any effect. The limitations and dangers of antidepressants press the need for alternative solutions that are faster acting, safer, and more efficacious. Fortunately such a solution is readily available to everyone in the form of brisk walking. Walking briskly for 30 min, six days a week or for 1 hour, 3 days a week (alternate days), has been recently clinically proven to ease mild to moderate depression.
Walking naturally increases the amount of several key neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. This is the same mechanism of action that antidepressants are thought to have. Furthermore, brisk walking produces endorphins which are your body’s own supply of morphine that agonize the opioid receptors in the brain. This promotes a feeling of well-being, happiness, and even euphoria. Walking also produces something called BDNF (Brain derived neurotropic factor) which is like fertilizer for your neurons. This means that walking helps in neurogenesis which in turn improves cognitive function and symptoms of depression. Walking also increases blood flow to the brain improving the brains functionality and vigilance. All of these effects synergistically work towards eradicating depression.
So, before you grab that container of antidepressants grab a pair of sneakers instead and walk your way out of depression.
By : Natural Health News
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