Has walking made me happier?

At the beginning of the year, I decided that one my January goals would be to try and get outside for a walk for at least an hour every day. So far, I’m pleased to say that bar maybe two or three days I have managed to stick to my goal. I set myself this challenge, not to get fit or lose weight (although of course, that would be great) but to improve my mood and feel happier. Almost a month on from starting my daily walks I thought I’d evaluate whether or not they have made me happier.

There have been days when I’ve really struggled (just as I knew I would) to get out of the house. It all felt like a bit too much effort. Not only did I have to get myself ready to go out but I’d have to sort the dog out (she joins us for most of our walks) and get Jasmine ready too. I must have the only dog in the world that runs away at the sight of her lead (the thrill of me chasing her around the house with it is much more enjoyable than the prospect of an actual walk). Then Jasmine would fight with me as I try to put her hat, coat and mittens on and then continue her tantrum by arching her back making it difficult for me to strap her into the pushchair. By this point I already feel exhausted. I then have to make the 372-point-turn with the pushchair to get out it out of the house (It’s somewhat of a tight squeeze in our entrance porch).

And then? I’m out! Hurrah. Within minutes I’ve forgotten the drama of getting ready for our walk and I’m already enjoying it. I do a few deep breaths, taking in the cold winter air and suddenly everything is OK again. Dog’s happy. Jasmine’s happy. I’m happy. And relax…

Here are just some of the reasons my walks have helped improved my mood:

It’s less chaotic at home: Heidi can be quite a handful (it sometimes feels like I have two children) but since she’s been joining me for my walks and having additional exercise she’s been better behaved when we get back to the house. As for Jasmine, being pushed around in the buggy has always been a surefire way to get her to nap without the fuss. It means she’s less likely to get overtired and irritable later on in the day. It’s made my time back at home more enjoyable and less stressful.

Thinking time: With the girl usually asleep and the dog occupied, I get some peace and quiet for and enjoy some (kind of) ‘me-time’. Sometimes I listen to a podcast or an audio book but mostly I just like to think about things. I come up with ideas for blog posts, plan my week or I simply just contemplate my navel!

I get dressed every day: I know this sounds ridiculous, but last year I spent way too many days in my PJs. I had no intention of leaving the house for anyone or anything. I’m embarrassed to admit that, but it’s true. Now that I know I’m going to be going outside for a walk, I always get dressed in the morning. That in itself has made a world of difference to my general mood and attitude towards each new day.

I sleep better: Now that I’m getting more exercise, I’ve noticed that getting to sleep at night has become significantly easier. Especially since I bought a pedometer and have aimed for 10,000 steps a day. (I was doing nowhere near that before!)

I’ve lost weight and I’m feeling fitter: Even though I am currently the heaviest I’ve ever been, I didn’t want this to be about losing weight. I’m concentrating on a healthier mind before I make a start on tackling my physical health. Out of curiosity, I weighed myself this morning and I have lost 3lbs (so that means I’ve lost roughly 1lb a week since I started walking every day). Obviously it feels good to have lost the weight and I have felt noticeably fitter. Hopefully this bodes well for when I can start running again in the Spring.

It’s bonding time: I feel better connected to Jasmine when we are out for walks. Probably because I’m not getting constantly distracted by my phone, laptop or the TV. Instead I talk and sing to her as we walk around (when she’s not sleeping, obviously). I feel like this is really good quality time together. I love the eye contact and smiles. You can’t get a better mood booster than that!

I’ve made a friend: During one of my walks I took the long route home and bumped into another lady out walking with her baby. We got chatting and soon realised we lived just around the corner from each other. Now we regularly meet up for walks together which has been great for us both. We can get some fresh air and vent about tiredness, teething and poop explosions. If I hadn’t have been out on that walk, we might never have met.

These are just some of the benefits of walking off the top of my head, I’m sure there are many more. In all honestly I can say that, so far, walking for an hour every day is making me happier. Admittedly, I am bored of the cold and the grey skies. I’m desperate to feel some sun on my skin. But the hard part is nearly over, Spring will be here before I know it and then things surely will get easier.

Do you try to get outside for a walk every day?

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Comments

  1. January 21, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    Amazing that a simple thing like going for a walk has made some many positive changes. I think I will try to do at least 4 days out of 7 when baby number 2 arrives!

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:35 pm

      It really is, isn't it? So many good things have come from one simple habit. :)

      I think 4 days is a good goal, especially with two little ones in toe! xx

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:35 pm

      Thank you, Amy. I'm glad it makes you happier too. :) x

  2. January 22, 2015 / 10:07 pm

    Love this post Jenna! Just like you say it is soooo stressful actually getting ready to get out but as soon as you are out in the fresh air you feel so much better. I have to walk every day because of the school run now and it does me the world of good. I think things through while I walk, like you I am usually thinking of blog posts and I love that you have met someone to chat to. It will be nicer to do it when the weather is better though :) xx

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:39 pm

      Yeah, getting out the door is definitely the hardest part but I'm always glad I did it.

      I can't wait for nice Spring weather to walk in… I don't cope too well when it's really cold! xx

  3. January 23, 2015 / 11:32 am

    This is so good to hear! So much happiness just from a simple act of walking! I went for a walk yesterday but the girls must have the worst circulation ever as they both froze! haha!

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:40 pm

      Haha, oh bless them. You'll have to dress them in all of their clothes like Joey did in Friends! x

  4. January 23, 2015 / 2:36 pm

    I am so glad this is doing you so much good, long may it continue. I was making the effort to get out of the house everyday and felt really good, this week I haven't done it and feel a bit rubbish. Well done for sticking to it, you have given me a kick up the bum to get back to it next week! x

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you, Sammy! :)

      I'm glad I gave you a virtual kick up the bum and I hope you manage to have a better week next week. xx

  5. January 23, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    This is fabulous! All the benefits are wonderful, especially the new friend. I might have to challenge myself to continue walking. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:44 pm

      Thanks, Aby! :)

      Yes, I was really pleased to meet someone who enjoys going for walks as much as I do. Even nicer that we both have little baby girls too. xx

  6. January 23, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    Well done Jenna, I love walking and walk every day with Toby, its great for relaxing and clearing your head. I am so glad it is benefiting you xx

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      Thank you, Sarah.

      Heidi loves all these walks – what better motivation than her little face staring up at me?! xx

  7. January 23, 2015 / 8:09 pm

    Jenna this is brilliant. I really admire you for just getting out and doing it, whether you were in the mood or not! You are totally sticking to your guns and you're now being rewarded with the benefits it brings too. I'd rather love to know though just how you 'contemplate your navel'???? Hehehehehe xxxxx

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:46 pm

      Oh thank you so much, Stephanie. :)

      As for the 'contemplating my navel' thing… I'll show you sometime! Haha. :) xx

  8. January 23, 2015 / 9:28 pm

    Sounds like these walks have been doing you the world of good! and how nice you've made a friend through it now as well really brilliant Jenna some days when I'm feeling crappy I just need to get out side for a little bit and i feel much better xx

    • January 24, 2015 / 8:48 pm

      They really have, Amy! :)

      Making a new friend was definitely a nice benefit and certainly one I didn't expect. 9 times out of 10 if I'm having a crappy day, going out for a walk really helps improve my mood. xx

  9. January 25, 2015 / 9:34 am

    Well done lovely! I wish I had time to get out everyday but with working that's not going to happen. I'm also aiming for 10,000 steps a day and I have definitely noticed a difference in my activity levels! #Sundaystars

    • January 25, 2015 / 8:40 pm

      Thanks, hun! :)

      Aiming for 10,000 steps is a great daily goal, it certainly makes me think more about how much I am actually walking and I tend to take the longer routes now just to get my step count up! xx

  10. January 25, 2015 / 9:45 am

    Great post. So motivating and such beautiful photography xxx

    x Maria x

    • January 25, 2015 / 8:40 pm

      Aw, thanks so much Maria. :) xx

  11. January 25, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    This is me! I found that staying at home with the twins drove me mad! And so nearly every day we would get out. I am so glad you've found this is making you enjoy it all, and I am a huge believer in fresh air being good for the soul. Great post (yet again). Jess x #sundaystars

    • January 25, 2015 / 8:47 pm

      Yeah, the odd day at home is OK but by day two I find myself going a bit stir crazy. It's really nice to know that this has worked for others too. :) xx

  12. January 25, 2015 / 8:16 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your post, Jenna. What a difference. I remember when Wonderboy was tiny and there were plenty of days I didn't get out my PJ's and looking back, I don't think it was very good for my state of mind. In our old house we couldn't walk anywhere but round the 101 houses that were built together so it was a less than inspiring option. Now that we've moved – what a difference. Walking is definitely good for the soul xx

    • January 25, 2015 / 8:49 pm

      Thanks, Lorna.

      I totally agree about not getting dressed and how it isn't very good for one's state of mind! I must admit, I do wish we lived somewhere a little more scenic but I'm making do with where we are for now. :) xx

  13. January 25, 2015 / 8:19 pm

    aww this is lovely. I remember when my little one was smaller and walking everyday was the only thing that kept me sane. Before, when she used to sleep I would plug into Spotify and have a good old power walk. The fresh air is amazing. Keep it up for sure. Your little one is a cutie too xxx

    • January 25, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      Ah thank you, Sarah. :)

      Some days, I think the walking is the only thing that's keeping me sane too! Ahh, I love putting on some good music and having a right old power walk! xx

  14. January 25, 2015 / 8:21 pm

    I love this post. walking does make you feel good doesn't it. I have had a pretty rubbish weekend with my moods, just feeling snappy, but I can't really just go for a walk because if the bigger kids aren't in the mood it they get grumpy, don't get me wrong they walk well, in fact I don't often use the car unless I have too, but I just know if I was to go for a walk to de-stress it would be the time they were moaning that their legs hurt or they need the loo or something.
    Sounds fab that you made a new friend too, I find making friends really hard, its hard for me to strike up conversation in case the other person thinks I'm a complete loon.

    • January 25, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Thank you! :)

      Sorry you've had a rubbish weekend, sounds like a walk probably would do you the world of a good. Shame you don't feel like you can because of the bigger kids. I'll have to make the most of being able to quietly push my girl around without too much fuss before it's all 'my legs ache' and 'I'm cold'!

      Oh and I find making friends incredibly difficult but luckily this lady was very chatty and easy to make conversation with. xx

  15. January 25, 2015 / 8:42 pm

    Well done to you. I definitely don't make it outside to walk every day. Try to run 3 times a week but more recently its been on the treadmill. It sounds like a fab new years resolution. Well done you. #sundaystars

    • January 25, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      Well I think running 3 times a week (treadmill or not) is very admirable. :) xx

  16. January 25, 2015 / 11:27 pm

    Awe really enjoyed that, glad to hear Ur enjoying it, thanks for sharing hun x

    • January 26, 2015 / 8:59 am

      Aw, thanks so much Grainne. Glad you enjoyed reading it. x

  17. January 26, 2015 / 9:29 am

    What a great read. I love going out for a walk and I find it boosts my mood. However, at The moment my time is so limited and it's difficult t I get out and about anywhere! I just walked to and from school though which is about 25 mins each way –

    • January 26, 2015 / 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Julia. :) Yes, it is difficult when you have limited time. I couldn't walk nearly as much as I do now if I worked full-time, for example. 50 minutes is still a lot more than most people manage each day. :) xx

  18. January 26, 2015 / 9:29 am

    Sorry – my comment stuck!! So I do feel better for it I meant to say! Xxxx

    • January 26, 2015 / 3:51 pm

      Heh, no worries. Glad it makes you feel better though. :) xx

  19. January 26, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    Brilliant! I love this. I used to love walking daily and it didn't even matter in the winter. However this year I can't bear it and I only go when it looks dry and sunny. Today, I read this gorgeous post and you inspired me. I walked all the way to town and back. 20 mins each way after a 40 min walk round town doing a spot of shopping. Girls napped and I got active. Mwah xxxxx

    • January 26, 2015 / 3:52 pm

      Thanks, Kat. :)

      Yay, that's really great to read – I'm glad it inspired you to go for a long walk into town with the girls. That has made my day. :) xx

  20. January 27, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    Walking always clears my head – so glad you've found something to help you too. It is so great for pushchair naps too aren't they xx

    • January 27, 2015 / 9:47 pm

      Thanks, B. :)

      Yes, some days I don't think Jasmine would nap at all unless she was in her pushchair! x

  21. January 27, 2015 / 11:43 pm

    All positives and it is FANTASTIC that you made a friend. One of my favourite parts of my day off is getting in from a walk, when little miss is still fast asleep, and putting the kettle on and having just those five minutes to myself to have a drink and re-coup before round two.

    Well done Mrs xxxx

    • January 28, 2015 / 8:57 am

      Yes exactly, it gives you that time in the day for a much needed rest, It makes so much difference to how you feel for the rest of the day. xx

  22. January 28, 2015 / 1:28 am

    Yay! I am so thrilled that you've had so many benefits from this fab resolution. Getting out of the house with a little one is so important. But sometimes it does feel like the last thing you want to do. Keep it up honey. You are inspiring. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    • January 28, 2015 / 8:58 am

      Thank you, Mrs H! It does often feel like the last thing I want to do, especially when the weather is pants but if I can force myself out, I never regret it afterwards. :) xx

  23. January 28, 2015 / 1:21 pm

    I remember making the same promise to myself when the toddler was tiny (and we had the coldest winter ever with snow in March! ) and it truly helped my mindset so hats off to you and hopefully the same will be true of your daily walk, I'll just ignore the time I was walking round Clapham common crying because "why won't this child just sleep" it's something I've really missed since being out in Dubai where the streets are nit made for walking x

    • January 28, 2015 / 3:30 pm

      Thanks, Laura. I feel like it's already making a big difference to my mindset so hopefully that will continue. Oh yes, there are times when they just will. not. sleep! I would miss walking too now if I had to give it up. Roll on nicer weather though! xx

  24. January 28, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    Good on you for sticking to this Jenna! I love that you have made a new friend :D I really should give this a go myself, I think it would do O and I the world of good to get some extra fresh air!

    • January 29, 2015 / 9:47 pm

      Ah, thank you Katie.

      I've never met anyone yet who hasn't benefited from getting out of the house more! Good luck. :) xx

  25. February 5, 2015 / 4:25 am

    I agree getting out has so many benefits…and if they're in the pram, they're not trashing the house, lol! I've been trying to go out everyday, but lately I have been using the cold as an excuse not to go. Think I need to give myself a kick up the bum and start going again x

    • February 6, 2015 / 10:57 am

      Ha, so true about them not trashing the house! It is harder to get out of the door when it's cold and miserable but usually once I'm out I don't even notice it. Walking and pushing the pushchair keeps me warm. :) x

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