Why Walking Is Good for Your Brain
It’s something most of us do thousands of times a day without even thinking, but walking is in fact an incredibly complex process that requires a combination of serious brain power and exceptional coordination. Amazingly, taking just one single step involves 200 bones and 600 muscles, and every one of those steps requires a constant exchange of signals between our brain and our legs. Every piece of information about how we’re walking, from how level the surface is to how steep the gradient is, reaches our brain simultaneously and is then passed back down to our legs in preparation to take the next step. To make sure you’re reaping the benefits of walking, aim for 10,000 steps or at least 30 minutes of brisk walking a day and ensure you engage your core muscles with every step. In addition, always walk upright with your spine aligned and your chin parallel to the ground.
It improves your mood
Walking releases endorphins, feel-good neurotransmitters that are responsible for making us feel calm and happy. They also decrease your sensitivity to stress and pain so are real mood boosters.
It helps memory capacity
As well as improving focus, concentration and overall cognitive function, walking strengthens your hippocampus, the area in your brain that helps you form and store memories.
It improves brain health
Brisk daily walking increases the production of BDNF, a protein which helps produce new brain cells, strengthen existing ones and are crucial for supporting good brain function and cognitive plasticity. As we age, levels of BDNF naturally start to fall, so it’s important to keep levels of BDNF supported to help keep your brain resilient.
It reduces your risk of depression
Recent studies have shown that just 20 minutes of any kind of moderate aerobic exercise – like brisk walking – could cut your chances of developing depression by a third.
It boosts overall health
Providing a real boost for your overall health, walking increases blood flow to your brain and body by bringing nutrient-rich, freshly oxygenated to your cells, and removing toxins and waste.