The fear of walking, known as Ambulophobia, may be perceived as mere laziness by some, but this phobia is very real. Our transportation-based culture makes it easy to avoid the physical strain that walking can bring.
Reasons For This Phobia
Some people with Ambulophobia may have medical reasons for their fears. Conditions like arthritis, bunions, or bursitis will aggravate the phobia. If it hurts to walk, you will be more likely to develop this condition.
Pain from walking may be managed with medication or surgery. However, treatment for underlying conditions will not necessarily ease the phobia. There is always a psychological element which must also be addressed.
People with the fear of walking will do anything to avoid getting out and pounding the pavement. This can have a negative impact on health and wellness. It is difficult to maintain a healthy body weight and the other, myriad benefits of fitness without doing some form of exercise. A slide into obesity may result from Ambulophobia.
Some people with weight problems may actually feel self-conscious in public, exacerbating this phobia. The more they abstain from walking, the harder it may become to face the public on city sidewalks or even rural roads. Other phobias may be tied in with the fear of walking.
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Triggers For Ambulophobia
Agoraphobia (fear of going outside, or fear of the marketplace) can be a trigger for fear of walking. Any element of low self-esteem may also rear its head, making a person with Ambulophobia dread the eye contact and interaction that walking brings.
Some Options For Treatment
Therapy may help the person with this phobia learn to cope with the rigours of walking. Talking to a doctor or psychologist about the reasons for fear of walking can lead to strategies for alleviating the phobia.
For example, battling low self-esteem or any other mental health condition can be quite possible with targeted therapies that retrain the brain. If muscle soreness or fitness are primary triggers, then a plan can be formulated which allows for the gradual introduction of exercise and a more nutritious diet.
Taking the first steps (no pun intended) towards curing the fear of walking can be a healing process that leads to a richer, fuller life.
If you’ve sustained an injury or other physical ailment that impacts your ability to walk, you may need time to get back into a more ambulatory lifestyle. The important thing is not to give up on the fitness that walking can bring.
Environmental Concerns Can Cause This Fear
Bad weather and allergies may also be triggers for this phobia. Going outside can be fraught with peril when a person is subject to nasal congestion, red, watering eyes, and other problems.
Pollution in some cities can cause a range of environmental illnesses that also contribute to Ambulophobia. Smog and smoke from factories can cause a range of health problems that leave people unwilling to go outside and walk.
In some countries, people resort to face masks that filter the worst of pollution, which allows them to experience the outdoors and walk around without risking their health or suffering adverse effects.
People who are afflicted with phobias tend to experience the symptoms of a panic attack when they are confronted with triggers. For those with the fear of walking, extreme anxiety that is persistent will occur when they are forced to go out and walk. Nausea, dizziness, and other components of a panic attack will be common.
Sometimes, avoidance will be practiced by those who suffer from Ambulophobia. If this avoidance leads to obesity, weakness, or a lack of social contact or employment, it can be very negative. Caring friends and family members may be able to draw their loved one into the world again. Some intervention, if done with sensitivity, can be a good thing.