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  • 6.1 Building Psychological Resilience (including the benefits of walking)
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The Unexpected Psychological Benefits of Walking

Walking, often underestimated, is an exercise that yields numerous health and psychological benefits. Here’s a comprehensive look at why incorporating walking into your daily routine can be transformative for your mind and body.

Health Benefits of Walking

Cardiovascular Health: Walking is a low-impact exercise that significantly improves heart health. Regular walking helps lower blood pressure, manage weight, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes​ . Research shows that moderate-intensity exercise, including walking, can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as colon, breast, and endometrial cancer​ .

Improved Sleep: Walking can enhance the quality of sleep. Studies indicate that people who engage in regular physical activity, including walking, tend to experience better sleep quality, which is crucial for overall health​ ​.

Enhanced Heart Rate Variability: Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat and is linked to the body’s ability to manage stress. Regular walking has been shown to improve HRV, promoting better psychological resilience and well-being​ ​.

Psychological Benefits of Walking

Mood Enhancement and Stress Relief: Walking, especially in nature, significantly improves mood and reduces stress levels. The act of walking increases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, and can lead to lower levels of anxiety and depression​ ​.

Reduction of Inflammation: Consistent walking may help reduce inflammation in the body. This benefit is particularly noted in mindful walking practices, where the combination of physical activity and mental relaxation contributes to lower inflammation levels​ .

Corrective Emotional Experience

Self-Efficacy and Mastery: Walking provides a sense of achievement and control, which are vital for psychological resilience. This is particularly true for mindful walking, where individuals focus on the present moment, enhancing self-control and mastery over their environment​ ​.

Therapeutic Impact: Walking can serve as a therapeutic activity, providing a break from daily stressors and fostering constructive emotional experiences. This practice is akin to the benefits gained from brief psychotherapy sessions, where individuals experience emotional relief and clarity​ ​.

Application in Trading and Stress Management

Mindful Walking for Traders: Traders can use mindful walking to manage stress and improve focus. The rhythmic nature of walking can help clear the mind, enhance cognitive functions, and improve decision-making under pressure. This practice is particularly beneficial in high-stress environments, promoting calm and collected thinking​ ​.

Purposeful Living and Emotional Resilience

Connecting with Future Selves: Walking purposefully supports living with intention, building emotional resilience, and pursuing life goals. It enhances creativity and problem-solving abilities, which are essential for both personal and professional growth​ ​.

Immersion in Nature: Walking in natural settings provides additional psychological benefits. Exposure to greenery and natural environments has been shown to lower stress levels, improve mood, and even enhance cognitive functions​ ​.

Practical Tips for Incorporating Walking into Your Routine

Start Slow and Build Gradually: Begin with short walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity. This approach helps in sustaining the habit and avoiding injury​ .

Track Your Progress: Use a pedometer or a fitness app to monitor your steps. Tracking progress can motivate you to walk more and celebrate your achievements​ 

Find a Walking Buddy: Walking with a friend or a pet can make the activity more enjoyable and less like a chore. It also provides an opportunity for social interaction and support​ ​.

Make It Enjoyable: Listen to your favorite music, podcast, or audiobook while walking. This can make the experience more pleasurable and something to look forward to​ 

Be Mindful: Practice mindful walking by paying attention to your surroundings, your breathing, and the sensations in your body. This mindfulness can enhance the psychological benefits of walking​ 


In conclusion, walking is a highly beneficial activity that supports physical health, emotional well-being, and mental resilience. By incorporating regular walks into your routine, especially before engaging in high-stress activities like trading, you can enhance your mental control and focus. This practice not only prepares your mind for the day ahead but also promotes a balanced and healthier lifestyle, making it an essential component of your daily routine and a valuable addition to your trading regimen. As a trader myself, I walk 1 to 2 hours a day as part of my daily routine, and it has become an integral part of maintaining mental clarity and focus in my professional life.

Here are three books that explore the psychological benefits of walking, which you may find insightful and relevant:

In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration" by Shane O'Mara

This book delves into the myriad benefits walking confers on our bodies and brains. Shane O’Mara, a neuroscientist, explores how walking can improve mood, enhance creativity, and boost overall brain function. It’s a detailed scientific exploration that highlights why walking is fundamental to our health and well-being.

52 Ways to Walk: The Surprising Science of Walking for Wellness and Joy, One Week at a Time" by Annabel Streets

Annabel Streets provides a unique take on walking by offering 52 different ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine, backed by the latest scientific research. The book emphasizes the physical, spiritual, and emotional benefits of walking, encouraging readers to explore various walking styles and environments to enhance their wellness.

Psychological Perspectives on Walking: Interventions for Achieving Change" by Ralf Risser and Matúš Šucha

This comprehensive book offers an in-depth look at the psychological aspects of walking, including motivations and barriers. It covers the benefits of walking for public health, liveability, and the environment, and provides strategies to encourage more walking. The authors combine psychological insights with practical interventions to promote walking as a sustainable and healthy activity.

The benefits

These books offer valuable perspectives and research-based insights into the benefits of walking, making them excellent resources for anyone looking to understand the broader impacts of this simple yet powerful activity on mental and physical health.

Based on the content and reviews of the three books, “In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration” by Shane O’Mara stands out as the best option. Here’s why:

In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration" by Shane O'Mara

Key Features

Scientific Depth: As a neuroscientist, Shane O’Mara provides a thorough and detailed exploration of the scientific underpinnings of walking. He explains how walking positively affects our brains, improves mood, and boosts cognitive functions.

Comprehensive Coverage: The book delves into various aspects of walking, from its evolutionary significance to its impact on modern-day mental health and creativity.

Engaging Writing: O’Mara’s writing is accessible and engaging, making complex scientific concepts understandable and interesting for a broad audience.

Practical Insights: It not only explains the benefits of walking but also offers practical advice on how to incorporate more walking into daily life, which can be particularly useful for traders looking to enhance their mental focus and resilience.

Comparison with Other Books

“52 Ways to Walk” by Annabel Streets is excellent for providing practical and varied ways to integrate walking into your life. However, it may not delve as deeply into the scientific aspects as O’Mara’s book.

“Psychological Perspectives on Walking” by Ralf Risser and Matúš Šucha is comprehensive and academically rigorous, offering valuable insights into the psychological and social aspects of walking. It’s highly beneficial for professionals in public health or urban planning but may be less accessible to the general reader compared to O’Mara’s work.

To Sum Up

“In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration” by Shane O’Mara is the best choice if you’re looking for a book that combines scientific rigor with practical advice and engaging storytelling. It offers a well-rounded perspective on why walking is beneficial for both mental and physical health, making it a valuable addition to anyone’s reading list, especially for those interested in enhancing their mental control and focus, such as traders.

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Daniel Martin

Co-founded CTI and CTI Academy, a seasoned trading veteran with an impressive track record spanning over two decades

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