Walking Is Brain Medicine

Six Reasons Why Walking Is The Daily Brain Medicine We Really Need

Sometimes science jibes with ancient wisdom on simple but deceptively powerful things. Case in point: walking.

Walking is potent mood medicine that enhances thinking, sharpens memory and safeguards brain health. 

  • Walking boosts your mood even when you’re not expecting it.

just 12 minutes of walking resulted in an increase in joviality, vigor, attentiveness and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting.  

  • Walking enhances creativity, especially when you’re seeking a solution.

The enhancement was specific to a flavor of creativity called “divergent thinking,” defined as a thought process used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.

  • Walking sparks connections between brain cells.

One year of walking increased functional connectivity between aspects of the frontal, posterior, and temporal cortices within the Default Mode Network and a Frontal Executive Network, two brain networks central to brain dysfunction in aging.

  • Walking improves working memory.

performance on challenging working memory tasks improved for participants allowed to walk at their own steady pace, as opposed to a slower pace set by the researchers.

Again, individual differences are critical, as in all areas of human functioning.

  • Walking yields the right rhythm for thinking.

One of the more intriguing areas of walking research delves into effects of its steady rhythm on how we think.

Other neurological research has clearly demonstrated that different rhythms of brain waves have very different results on how we function and feel.

Walking is one of the most fundamental human physical activities, so it makes sense that its rhythm would be very individualized and linked to our personal brain makeup.

Studies have examined everything from the brain-spinal-cord connection with respect to this rhythm to the interplay of neurological function, biomechanics and the forces of gravity.

The bottom line here is still equal parts science and intuition, but all signs point to walking inducing the right rhythm for getting thinking done.

  • Walking is a powerful way to mainline nature

And when you pair walking with your nature boost it’s a win-win

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2 thoughts on “Walking Is Brain Medicine

  1. birdloverinmichigan

    I so love walking and always have. This article about its benefits makes perfect sense. But wouldn’t you know the thing I love to do, walk outside and think about things, is made so much harder, often impossible, by my also having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

    Sometimes it feels as though my legs are about to separate from my torso when I try to take a brief walk around my condo complex. Add to that ankle instability and knee pain, and all I can think about is how fast can I get myself back home. When I do, I’m exhausted.

    So I wonder, does it follow that losing access to my former vigorous walking rhythm mean my ability to think is also eroded?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I’ve loved walking since I first tried it – literally. When I can’t even walk a block without intense hip pain, the grief over this sign of declining walking ability can make me cry.

      Luckily, I can still walk on unpaved hilly trails where the variety of terrain keeps my steps from becoming a purely repetitive motion.

      Like

      Reply

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