Did you Know that Walking Benefits the Brain?

Try daily walks! Walking benefits your body and your mind.
Did you Know that Walking Benefits the Brain?

Last update: 20 December, 2019

An activity as simple and natural as walking benefits the body in a very important way. Although it seems something very rudimentary and easy when it comes to physical exercise. However, it’s more important than many people may think.

Walking is the number one ally for physical and psychological health without exuberant risk. It’s a natural movement that allows us to move ahead. In the following article, we’ll tell you how walking benefits the brain.

This exercise has one particular feature: one foot is always in contact with the ground. But if both feet are in the air, then you are running. One is as ideal as the other to improve the physical condition and brain activity.

A great method of physical activity

People tend to think that the only physical benefit comes from intense and strenuous training sessions. However, walking offers many benefits. Before getting into them, we’ll look at the ways that we’re able to apply this activity to benefit the brain.

As a complement to training

Walking benefits training and can transition into more strenuous, flexible and resistance exercises. In this way, we rebalance the system for the main activity of all living beings. Consequently, that’s movement.

Additionally, walking helps us to recuperate after exercising and rehabilitation of injuries. This is true when done correctly throughout the day. In this way, there isn’t interference with the goals of training. At the same time, it’s necessary to plan the speed and duration of each walk.

Walking benefits the main activity of the exercise program

Even though walking isn’t sufficient exercise for adolescents and healthy adults, it’s perfect for inactive older individuals. It’s a great way to stay healthy and avoid sarcopenia. This refers to the loss of muscle mass with aging. Walking can also be a first step in getting back into exercising.

Two women walking illustrating the benefit of walking as in the text.

According to certain studies and publications, the simple act of exercising can prevent mental illness in old age. This is because it promotes neuromuscular activity, which benefits the muscles and the brain. Receiving external stimuli promotes brain activity.

The brain benefits from walking

We tend to know the physical benefits of walking since it brings with it many improvements. However, what is the mental benefit? Actually, there are many and we’re going to explore them. So read on to learn what they are.

  • Prevents and improves the problems that come with Alzheimer’s disease: when in the moderate phase of this disease, it’s possible to improve this condition with light physical activity.
  • It improves the short and long term memory: another aspect related to the previous point, short and long term memory is better.
  • Increases reflexes: avoiding inactivity and moving recalibrates the mental process of awareness. Also, it keeps a person alert in any situation.
  • Reduces anxiety and stress: walking activates certain neurons that help us relax and inhibits over stimulation. So after the activity, we feel more relaxed. We’ll be able to sleep better and concentrate on other activities.
  • Feeling of wellbeing: walking while talking to a friend or family member contributes to dismissing other stressful processes of daily life. This helps to release endorphins and puts us in a better mood.
  • Delays aging: it’s as simple as starting a car daily. If it hasn’t functioned for months, it’ll be more apt to deteriorate. However, maintaining basic activity will keep it in better shape.
An elderly couple taking a walk to support text on walking

Benefits of walking for the brain: fundamental for good health

Beyond all of the virtues that we describe above, walking isn’t enough to obtain optimal levels of wellbeing for most people. In general, most people are able and need to do more intense activities. We’re talking about those activities that develop the capabilities of the body.

As a basic activity walking is exceptional and as a complement to our exercises, even better. As explained earlier, it contributes to our physical health as much as it does to our mental health. This is true, especially in older age. While waking is a start, we can also try more demanding activities such as running.

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  • Néstor Braidot. Como funciona tu cerebro. Para Dummies.
  • American Psychological Association 2000. Manual diagnóstico y estadístico de los trastornos mentales. Washington: American Psychological Association.
  • R.B. Zamuria; M.A.A. Vives. 1987. Beneficios del ejercicio y la actividad física en la tercera edad. Revista Educación.