I’ve found that walking can be utilized in 2 ways: when anxious feelings/sensations arise, and as daily maintenance.
When I was in the throes of my worst anxiety, getting outside and going for a walk around my neighborhood did wonders for me. Most of the time I played music on my headphones while walking; it got me out of my head. Also, when I got panicky feelings I was always afraid of having a stroke/heart attack, so I felt like if those things happened in public, maybe a stranger would see me and call and ambulance. (I knew these kind of thoughts were crazy, but those who experience anxiety know it isn’t exactly a reasonable disease.) Also, walking ups heart rate, breathing, and sweating, so it would feel like those panicky sensations were just from my walk, not from my body itself. Thankfully, those sensations have pretty much subsided, and if they do come up, it’s very mild and goes away quickly.
As for daily maintenance, I find that it just makes me feel good. The sunshine gives me more Vitamin D (which I am mildly deficient in; I think practically everyone is). I don’t wear my sunglasses in order to get more. There are many very important benefits to sunshine, here is an article if you are interested in reading more: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-amazing-health-benefits-sun-exposure.html
Sometimes I walk in silence and practice mindfulness and get lost in the beauty of the trees, sky and wildlife (and practice “being here now”). Other times I will listen to music. I feel like I get bonus points when I listen to a walking meditation (yay, gold stars!). Sometimes I use walking to get phone calls out of the way when I am feeling rushed.
Walking is something that anyone can do anywhere, at any time (unless the weather prevents you, of course). It doesn’t cost anything, and you don’t need any special equipment or a membership to do it. I loooooove going to parks, but I also enjoy walking around my neighborhood or even parking lots. Even malls open early so that people can walk around them before it gets too crowded.
I feel like humans are not meant to be sitting all day, all cramped up under fluorescent lighting, staring at electronic devices. I feel like we’re meant to be outside, breathing in beautiful oxygen, loving and appreciating all of the beauty that surrounds us (which in turn, causes us to love and appreciate ourselves). So when I take a walk, for a small moment in my day, I feel like I am doing is exactly right and where I am supposed to be. I feel so incredibly happy when I am walking, words can’t even get close to doing it justice. When I don’t walk for a couple of days, I feel “off”. Walking has done so much for my mood and anxiety. I very highly recommend it!