Why walk it off is not just empty advice

The+Sidekick+Entertainment+Editor+Anthony+Cesario+goes+for+a+walk+on+Sunday+in+his+neighborhood.+Walking+has+benefitted+Cesario+through+decreased+stress%2C+improved+mood+and+a+greater+appreciation+for+the+outdoors.
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Why walk it off is not just empty advice

The Sidekick Entertainment Editor Anthony Cesario goes for a walk on Sunday in his neighborhood. Walking has benefitted Cesario through decreased stress, improved mood and a greater appreciation for the outdoors.

The Sidekick Entertainment Editor Anthony Cesario goes for a walk on Sunday in his neighborhood. Walking has benefitted Cesario through decreased stress, improved mood and a greater appreciation for the outdoors.

Bren Flechtner

The Sidekick Entertainment Editor Anthony Cesario goes for a walk on Sunday in his neighborhood. Walking has benefitted Cesario through decreased stress, improved mood and a greater appreciation for the outdoors.

Bren Flechtner

Bren Flechtner

The Sidekick Entertainment Editor Anthony Cesario goes for a walk on Sunday in his neighborhood. Walking has benefitted Cesario through decreased stress, improved mood and a greater appreciation for the outdoors.

Anthony Cesario, Entertainment Editor

As school days got longer and more exhausting through the years, and sheets of unfinished homework began to pile higher on my desk, the last thing I wanted to hear was my parents telling me to get outside and go for a walk.

 

I would groan and complain, insisting that going on a walk was boring, that I did not have the time. And though my parents insisted with an equal amount of conviction that walking would be beneficial for me, they eventually relented.

 

Then, one day this summer, I was bored, and came to a slightly mortifying realization: it had been so long since I had gone for a walk that I was actually craving one.

 

So, to the shock of my parents, I grabbed a water bottle and stepped outside.

 

The moment I stepped out, I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom. Though it may sound silly, I had never actually went on a regular walk by myself or by my own volition. Being in control of my own route allowed me to explore parts of my neighborhood I never even knew existed and granted me a newfound appreciation for the outdoors.

 

I took advantage of the remaining few weeks of summer by going on a walk whenever I could, but as junior year began, my free time seemed to be dissolving before my eyes.

 

One day I came home extremely stressed, having even more homework than usual, and my dad urged me to go for a quick walk before dinner. I wasn’t going to get anything done as frantic as I was, he said, so I might as well go for a quick walk to take my mind off things and get some exercise in the process.

 

As little as I enjoy admitting my parents are right, I couldn’t deny the half hour outside had helped me far more than pacing around in my room would have. On my walk, the fresh air cleared my thoughts, made me think about things logically and gave a more realistic perspective – the work I had to do that night wasn’t that bad. I could get things done if I just calmed down and put my mind to it. My stress level fell drastically.

 

I came home, ate dinner and got to work with a renewed focus and work ethic. Miraculously, an afternoon of homework I thought initially would cause me to have to pull my first all-nighter turned into a manageable amount, with time to spare.

 

I began walking after school whenever possible, and enjoyed the noticeably positive impacts it had on me personally.

 

Walking has not only benefited me, though. Coppell High School juniors and sisters Rashi and Isha Agarwal go on walks every day. Ever since they began high school, their parents have made an effort to get them outside for at least 45 minutes to an hour so they would have time away from school.

 

“Going on a walk helps me to sort out my thoughts and it gives me some time away from all the stress that I get from school, and it’s just a nice way to talk to my sister and just sort out my feelings from the day before,” Rashi said.

 

According to The Arthritis Foundation, some of the other many benefits provided by walking include improved sleep, a decrease in the rate of mental decline as well as a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Not only does Coppell High School nurse Beth Dorn advocate going on full walks outside whenever possible, she also recommends setting a timer to get up and walk around for a few minutes at a time in regular intervals as a brain break.

 

“Getting outside and walking gives you a break and decreases your stress because you’re getting your mind off things,” Coppell High School nurse Beth Dorn said. “You’re making your body active, and when people get stressed out, they are not as productive.”

 

Getting outside greatly reduced my stress and improved the quality of my life. All it took was a walk and a little bit of perspective.

Follow @anthonycesario_ on Twitter

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