Aim for daily steps if you’re walking to improve brain health

VYou often hear how good walking is for your body. It improves the health of your heart and lungs, increases leg strength and lowers blood pressure. But of course, although less discussed, walking is also very good for your brain. In fact, recent studies looking at walking to improve brain health have found that subjects who walked more than 4,000 steps per day had healthier brain tissue in areas of the brain responsible for memory and better cognitive function. less than 4000 steps per day.

In other words, walking may be the ticket to protecting your brain from age-related cognitive decline.

To learn more about the brain benefits of walking, we spoke with Dave Rabin, MD, PhD, a neuroscientist and board-certified psychiatrist at Apollo Neuroscience. It’s amazing how simply putting one foot in front of the other can benefit you from head to toe.

Cognitive benefits of walking

While walking may seem like too simple an exercise to be particularly beneficial for your health, there are certainly benefits to more intense forms of exercise such as HIIT workouts and Pilates, but there are still many benefits to regular walking. .

“For us able-bodied people, walking may seem very simple, but it is a complex process that involves the interaction of neuromuscular, sensory and cognitive functions,” says Dr. Rabin. “Many studies have even shown that engaging in walking exercises can 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. Rabin.

Meanwhile, a wealth of scientific evidence shows that walking changes our brains and bodies for the better. “There’s also the obvious aspect that when we incorporate more exercise into our daily lives, we become more aerobically fit, but the brain benefits of walking are very interesting,” says Dr. Rabin. “A recent study by NeuroImage, completed in June 2021, shows that exercise renews the white matter in our brains, improving our ability to think and remember as we age. We can look at walking as an investment in our future health.”

And the brain benefits of walking aren’t just for the elderly. Research shows that young people can get significant brain-enhancing benefits from low-intensity exercise like walking.

How walking can improve brain health

So we know that walking is good for the brain, though how can Does precision walking improve brain health? Dr. According to Rabin, this is often because walking increases blood flow to the brain, which is good for the brain. In addition, increased blood flow to the brain stimulates the release of endorphins, which increase our mood and sense of well-being.

“Studies have shown that after just six months of regular walking, participants’ cardiovascular health and memory improved,” said Dr. Rabin. “I really like the idea of ​​James Clear Atomic habits About “walking slowly but not backwards”. Just get out there a little bit every day and put yourself out there and it will happen.”

How walking improves memory and concentration

Dr. According to Rabin, exercise has several ways of improving our memory and concentration, just like waking up. For starters: “It stimulates physiological changes like reduced insulin resistance and inflammation, while also triggering the production of chemicals in the brain that affect the growth of new blood vessels,” he explains. “It encourages abundance, vitality and the health of our brain cells.”

How much walking does it take to benefit your brain?

Recent studies have identified 4,000 steps per day as the magic number when it comes to walking for improved brain health. Dr. Rapin suggests that walking for time is sometimes a good way to ensure you’re getting enough exercise each day.

“It’s recommended that you try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, but remember that 10 minutes is better than none,” she says. “The more you walk, the more you can feel and see the improvements and it starts to get easier.” Making walking a habit can help make it part of your daily routine, she says.

According to Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, practice makes perfect, and the more we do it, the better we get at it. Whether you live in the city or the countryside, there are many ways to walk more,” notes Dr. Rabin. “You can walk to a telephone pole every day and make a ritual out of it, listen to podcasts to recharge while walking, walk with a stroller. or you can call someone and use walking to check in. love.” The One Well+Good editor has turned her daily coffee into morning walks, which she says have helped her feel clearer about her work. Whatever motivates and inspires you.

Give your body some TLC after your hike with a cool-down that only takes five minutes:

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