For the past month, I've taken my dog, Apollo, a springer spaniel, for a walk around my village every day. Iv'e been struggling mentally recently but I cannot express how much it has helped me. Theres a field that is a 6 minute walk from my house and almost every day, even then I didn't want to, I have at least walked to the field and back. Most times I did that, I ended up just walking around the field anyway, even though I had only intended to walk the 6 minutes there and back. I try to take him out for 35 minutes every time we go out and it's given me so many benefits in the short time we've been doing it.
I've gone out more often
This one's a bit obvious; but when you're struggling with mental health issues, it can become difficult to leave the house. Knowing I needed to take Apollo for a walk gave me an incentive and motivation to actually get out into the fresh air.
I have gotten to see how pretty my village can be
My village used to just be a plain old place of residence to me. But getting out and seeing different areas and all the flowers and trees has given me a new appreciation for where I live. It makes me want to go out and see all these small things.
I've maintained my weight
Moving to a secluded area, it can be difficult to find a new gym that is accessible, and I've never liked running very much. But walking for 35 minutes a day, combined with continued healthy eating has kept me in shape. Sure, I'm not building muscle or losing much weight anymore, but it's keeping me active.
My dog and I have bonded
I've always been close with my pets but becoming part of Apollo's daily routine has developed a new level of trust and love between us. He runs up to me and rubs against my leg. He gets even more excited when I come home. It's so lovely to see that I can help improve his life, while he's helping improve mine.
I am happier
There is always a couple days a week when I really do not want to go out for a walk, but most of those days, I can manage to convince myself to at least walk down the field and back. Most times, when I get down to the field, I just think I may as well walk round it, since I'm already there. I always come back home in a much better mood than when I left. It's a short term fix, but I'm sure it'll have so many more benefits in the future.
I have discovered new music
I've been listening to different spotify radios at least twice a week, instead of my usual playlists, whilst out for my walk. I've found so many amazing new songs and artists that I wouldn't have discovered otherwise.
Obviously you don't have to have a pet dog to be able to get out and walk daily, but I've found it's given me an incentive to carry on doing it. You could always ask if you can walk a neighbour's dog. If they know you well enough, I'm sure they wouldn't refuse! I would highly recommend walking outside, not running, for at least 10 minutes daily. Walking helps you absorb your surroundings and won't wear you out, so you'll stay calm and content.
My best wishes to you all!