Walking for Brain Health
It's fair to say that getting out for a good walk is one of the best things we can do for our health and general wellbeing. Walking for just 15 minutes a day can not only add years to your life, it can also act as a kind of 'superpower' by increasing our memory, emotional capacity and cognitive functions. Add to that the fact that spending time outdoors, especially in nature, boosts our happiness, reduces stress and can even get our creative juices flowing, and it's easy to see why we all need to make sure we're taking regular walks for the sake of our general health and wellbeing.
What makes walking so good for our brains?
It's all about the hippocampus - the part of the brain responsible for processing memories, learning, emotions and spacial awareness, amongst other things. This part of our brain evolved to help us move around foraging for food, seeking mates and keeping us away from impending danger. It also helped us to remember all of those skills we'd learned. Today, if we keep that part of our brain exercised, we keep it 'young' and capable of staying on top form. An ageing mind and brain is often associated with the symptoms associated with dementia and memory loss. Maintaining a 'young' and fit brain can really help to ward off those symptoms.
Exercising those brain cells
Walking, for most of us, might seem like a very easy, thoughtless activity. But, in actual fact the demands we put on our cognitive brain while putting one foot in front of the other are far more complex than you might think.
As well as concentrating on keeping our blood flowing, heart pumping and skeleton moving, our brains have to deal with spacial awareness, not bumping into objects, negotiating uneven surfaces, choosing directions and staying alert to potential threats from all around us in order to keep us moving from A to B. Think of it that way and you start to see how complicated a simple walk can be and how maintaining that skill is so important to our cognitive ability.
Another impressive side effect, of walking, on the brain is that it can help to spark some impressive levels of creativity. Research has shown that if you're stuck searching for a solution to a problem or are struggling to create/write/draw/perform something you're working on then going for a good walk can help to remove the barriers stopping you from reaching your creative goal. Researchers have found that people are much more able to answer creative-thinking tests while walking than while seated at a desk.
Walk yourself happy
Research shows that regular walking can change the nervous system so dramatically that it can increase your ability to stay positive and experience happier, more motivated emotions. Just a casual stroll for 10-12 minutes can significantly improve mood and focus which in turn improves our working memory and increases our recall and retaining capacity. Thus leading to a greater chance of staving off the effects of dementia in later years.
So it's difficult to argue against the benefits of a good walk. If you're heading out for a walk today, remember the positive effect it's having on your brain and body and the investment you're making in your body and brain for a better, more healthy life.
For those who need a little extra support when walking, we can help to kit you out with the right walking aids for your individual needs.
For all your Medical and Homecare supplies give us a call at Mediworld.