Feeling Anxious Or Burned Out? Take A Walk.

A Fitness Coach And Avid Runner Makes The Case For A Gentler Form Of Movement

A man wearing a protective mask crosses a street with his dogs in West Hollywood
A man wearing a protective mask crosses a street with his dogs in West Hollywood, Calif. on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Los Angeles County reopened its beaches Wednesday in the latest cautious easing of coronavirus restrictions that have closed most California public spaces and businesses for nearly two months. Richard Vogel/AP Photo

Since the pandemic began, we’ve heard over and over about the power of routines, moving our bodies and getting outdoors.

At a time when stress and burnout are high and many of life’s pleasures are on pause, a fitness coach and avid runner is making the case for a gentler, slower and more relaxed form of movement: walking.

At the core, it’s about taking time for yourself every day, said Emily Abbate, and enjoying the regular movement for what it is, when nothing else is important.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

All that is important in this time period is to enjoy myself, to focus on me and just take a deep breath in the midst of all of this chaos,” she said. “It’s my opportunity to give back to me, to show up for myself so that I can better show up for other people.”

While Abbate may be used to a quicker pace, getting outside the walls of her home in the morning is a chance to set a positive tone and goals for the rest of the day.

“Getting in those steps, moving your body can help you think more clearly,” Abbate said. “And it can certainly give you some of those endorphins that are so important when it comes to our mood.”

The pandemic has given many people the opportunity to slow down and not just move from one destination to another, she said, so remind yourself to look up and take stock of what’s happening around you during your walks.

“I really root this practice, this walk in gratitude for all of the things that I have, instead of what can be a little dangerous of a situation of worrying too much about the things that I am without,” Abbate said.

Something is always better than nothing, she said. So for however long you can get outside, take advantage of it and don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, or thinking you should be doing something more.

“Instead of should-ing yourself, so to speak — I should be walking or running for 45 minutes, I should be trying some sort of high intensity interval training — instead of comparing yourself to others, do what feels right for you,” Abbate said.

“Is that 15 minutes walking the dog doing something? Of course,” she continued. “It’s super important that you’re moving your body regularly … but it doesn’t need to happen in long chunks. That can happen in small doses every single day.”