Walking as a Means to Ease Caregiver Stress

Posted: 7/9/2015 2:09 PM by Interim HealthCare
Caregiver Tips by Interim HealthCare

Exercising is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight, keeping your body strong, supporting flexibility and range of motion, and warding off a variety of health concerns. It is also a powerful way of managing and easing stress in your caregiver journey. Physical activity releases endorphins and calming hormones, protects against depression and anxiety, and eases tension, helping preserve your mental and emotional health even when you face the many challenges of caring for your elderly loved ones.

You likely already know that walking is a fantastic form of exercise. It requires no special equipment, can be done virtually anywhere, and is accessible even for those who are not in great shape. Beyond just the physical benefits, however, walking can be a wonderful means of easing your caregiver stress. By utilizing walking as a stress management strategy you take care of your body while also empowering yourself to ease your stress whenever you need it.

Try these tips for turning just walking into your stress relief technique:

Enjoy new environments.  Rather than always taking a walk around your block or jumping on the treadmill to walk while watching TV, seek out new environments. While it is not always practical to go somewhere different to walk, whenever you have the chance, find a new place to take a walk. Research local parks, nature preserves, and hiking trails, but also think outside the box, walking through open air malls, along the beach, or through a sports complex. Changing your surroundings engages your mind, while choosing a beautiful environment creates a sense of calm.

Give yourself a soundtrack. Relieving stress does not necessarily mean getting calm and relaxed. Engaging in enthusiastic, high-energy exercise can also release tension and frustration and make you feel more at ease. Create a soundtrack full of your favorite high-energy music to pump up the intensity of your walk and boost your spirits. You may even find that the music helps you pick up your speed a bit, which burns more calories, gets your heartrate up, and further conditions your muscles. Remember not to use headphones or earbuds when you are walking along roads as they keep you from being able to hear traffic properly.

Make it competitive. Setting and achieving goals is a powerful way of giving yourself a sense of accomplishment, control, and purpose. Make your walking competitive, but compete only with yourself. Set goals and challenge yourself to walk farther, walk faster, or get more walks in during the week. Integrate these challenges throughout the day by pushing yourself to get in more steps and find creative ways to increase the amount you walk each day. As you put more thought and focus into your walking you will find that every time you walk, you experience the stress-relieving, mood-enhancing benefits, even if you are just walking from the living room to the kitchen.

Include your partner. Get the benefits of two of the best strategies for relieving your stress by combining them. Invite your partner to walk along with you and get the benefits of spending time with him and of exercising. This time together will help bring you closer and preserve your relationship while giving you both physical and emotional benefits. 

If you have an aging loved one in need home care services contact Interim HealthCare today.