The Benefits of Walking for Your Brain Health

The Benefits of Walking for Your Brain Health

We all know that any form of exercise is good for us physically as well as mentally and evidence shows that walking, especially outside, has major benefits. Walking can:

1. Help Grow New Brain Cells

Walking stimulates the release of a protein in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which helps keep existing brain neurons and helps generate new ones.

2. Boost Your Creativity

Walking can increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain that is linked to triggering ideas and enhancing creativity. According to a Stanford University study, those who walk have been found to have their creativity increased by 60%.

3. Enhance Your Mood

Ever wonder why after you work out, even if its just walking, you feel good afterwards? That’s because your brain releases feel-good chemicals — serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Walking outside not only releases those feel-good chemicals, but our bodies get exposed to sunlight (vitamin D) which releases even more serotonin. John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School states “exposure to light elevates the mood” even on a cloudy day.

4. Reduce the Risk of Cognitive Decline

A study found on the National Library of Medicine website shows that those who have a higher step count, around 4,000 per day, seem to have healthier brain tissues in the hippocampus which contributes to memory, learning and cognitive function.

5. Decrease Brain-Damaging Stress

Dealing with a lot of stress can take a toll on the body mentally and can lead to impairment to memory and cognitive flexibility. An increased amount of stress may result in an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Going for a walk is said to reduce stress by shifting the brain into relaxation mode.