It’s well known that walking helps improve oxygen flow to the brain.
This is a good thing.
The brain uses 20% of the oxygen supply you take into your lungs. With air the mind becomes clouded and confused.
You probably know from experience that a good walk helps to clear your mind. There are a number of reasons for this other than merely having some quality alone time.
Walking stimulates the brain.
In 2017, researchers found that walking sends pressure waves through the arteries and also increases the supply of blood to the brain.
The New Mexico Highlands University research team found that the effects of coronary blood flow were less dramatic when walking compared to running, but were far greater than the effects seen during cycling.
Walking Nourishes Your Brain
Other areas of research have also found that walking boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) – a protein that is essential for developing neural networks and synaptic plasticity.
In other words, BDNF makes your brain work sharper, quicker and more flexibly. It’s proven to be vital for brain health. A lack of BDNF has been linked with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
One study found that brisk walking for thirty minutes a day increased BDNF production. So walking faster gives your brain more nourishment. Brisk walking also helps you sleep better – and we know how important sleep is for cognitive function.
Moderate exercise, like walking, encourages your brain to release endorphins – the natural feel-good chemical that boosts your mood.
Being in a good mood is good for your mental health because it decreases your sensitivity to stress and anxiety.
A study led by King’s College London found that walking for just twenty minutes a day reduces the risk of developing depression by a third.
So there you have it. Walking more and walking faster gives you food for thought.