Cutting wayyyyy down on stress is one of the many unexpected benefits of doing alot of walking.
If you watch this blog over time, you’ll see me call out MANY of the unexpected benefits of losing weight and getting fit. My motivations were all negative, and I have been so amazingly blessed and surprised by all the positives I didn’t see coming.
I used to be a pretty stressed out dude. I did my best to hide it, but that was probably not successful in the eyes of most people who know me.
And I may still be a little tightly wound, but I am MUCH less stressed than I was 8+ months ago. I sleep so much better. I worry so much less. I have a much easier time letting go of the little things. I don’t have a perfect handle on this (and never will in this life), but I’m heading in the right direction.
I have some big things going on in life right now. A year ago, I would have been sleepless as a result of them. They do weigh still weigh on me, but not nearly as much.
I also don’t think it’s just a physiological response. I don’t deny the reality of the physiological benefits, but I feel as if getting healthier through my walking has really helped me see things more clearly – that I am not in control of most things in life, but God is in control of ALL of them, and I really can trust him. ”Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 (ESV).
This has also helped me focus on moving the levers I can control and not worry about the things that are out of my control. The discipline of getting healthier is pretty straightforward – you have two major levers at your disposal: what you take in (eat) and what you burn (exercise). I had to learn a new measure of discipline on both those counts. Sleep is arguably another lever here, but in my experience, getting better sleep has been largely a function of the Eating and Exercising levers.
One other important spiritual impact here is simply the time to pray. This is a discipline that I am quite poor in. But being out in God’s creation (versus on the treadmill in front of a TV) simply provides great clarity of though and appreciation for all that he’s placed around us. Walking is not as “efficient” as running in terms of calories burned per hour, but it has the incredible benefit of helping me to slow down, appreciate things, think, and pray. I find that when I plug in, I lose that benefit. So I get outside when I can and enjoy the sights and sounds around me, and the clarity of mind I get that draws me closer to my creator.
All that said – it is a gorgeous Fall day here, and I am heading out with Yankee. Enjoy the day!