In other words, walking may be your ticket to protecting your brain from age-related cognitive decline.
To find out more about the benefits of walking on the brain, we spoke with Dave Rabin, MD, a board-certified neurologist and psychiatrist at Apollo Neuroscience. It’s amazing how amazing just putting one foot in front of the other can do you from head to toe.
Cognitive benefits of walking
Walking may seem like a simple exercise to be particularly beneficial for your health, but the truth is that while there are certainly benefits to more intense types of exercise like HIIT and Pilates, there are still many benefits to be gained from walking regularly.
“Walking may seem very simple to those of us who are able, but it is a complex process that involves the interaction of neuromuscular, sensory, and cognitive functions,” Dr. Rabin says. “Several studies have shown that participating in walking exercises may help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia.” This is partly because walking increases blood flow to the brain, which also releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that boost our mental health and mood, according to Dr. Rabin.
At this point, a rich body of scientific evidence shows that walking changes our brains and bodies in positive ways. “There is a more obvious aspect — that we get fitter when we introduce more exercise into our daily lives — but the brain improvements from walking are fantastic,” Dr. Rabin shares. A recent study completed by NeuroImage in June 2021 shows that exercise can replenish the white matter in our brains, improving our ability to think and remember as we age. We can view walking as a more investment in our future health.”
The benefits of walking on the brain are not limited to the elderly. Studies show that young adults are also able to reap significant brain-boosting benefits from low-intensity exercise such as walking.
How walking improves brain health
So, we know that walking is good for the brain, but How Does walking exactly improve brain health? Dr. Rabin says it mostly comes down to the fact that walking increases blood flow in the brain, which in itself is good for the brain. Furthermore, the increased blood flow to the brain stimulates the release of endorphins, which enhance our mood and feelings of well-being.
“Studies show that after just six months of regular walking, participants have better cardiovascular fitness, and improved memory,” says Dr. Rabin. “I really like the idea of James Claire in atomic habits About “walk slowly, but not backward”. Just get out a little each day, show yourself, and the benefits will follow.”
How walking can boost memory and focus
Dr. Rabin says there are quite a few ways exercise, like getting up, can boost our memory and focus. For starters: “It stimulates physiological changes, such as reducing insulin resistance and inflammation, while triggering the production of chemicals that affect the growth of new blood vessels in the brain,” he explains. “This encourages brain cell abundance, survival and overall health.”
How much do you need to walk to benefit your brain
While recent research has come up with 4,000 steps per day as the magic number when it comes to walking to improve brain health. Dr. Rabin suggests that sometimes a time walk is a better way to go to make sure you’re moving enough each day.
“It is recommended that you try to walk at least 30 minutes a day, but remember that 10 minutes is better than nothing,” he says. “The more you walk, the more likely you are to feel and see improvements, and you’ll start to feel better.” He says building a habit around walking will help make it part of your daily routine.
“Practice makes mastery, and the more we do anything, the better we can do it according to Nobel laureate Eric Kandel. Whether you live in an urban or rural environment, there are plenty of ways to walk more,” notes Dr. Rabin. “You can walk to the same Phone pole every day and do rituals to get out of it, listen to podcasts for some recharge time while walking, walk with a stroller, or use the walk as time to call and check on someone to love.” One Well + Good editor turned her daily coffee into morning outings She said it helped her feel more clearly about her work.It all motivates you and moves you.
After your walk, show your body some TLC with these cool-down exercises that only take five minutes:
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