By Alison Connors, Certified Brain Health Trainer, FMCHC, NBC-HWC
We often hear how walking is beneficial for your body. While it boosts the health of your heart and lungs, increases leg strength, and decreases blood pressure, it is also a great way to improve your brain health.
A recent study that looked at walking to improve brain health found that subjects that walked more than 4,000 steps per day, had healthier brain tissue and better cognitive function than those who walked fewer than 4,000 steps per day.
There are quite a few ways exercise, such as walking boosts your memory and concentration. For starters: it has not only been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, but also release endorphins and neurotransmitters that boost our mental health and overall mood. Walking also stimulates physiological changes like reductions in insulin resistance and inflammation, as well as the production of chemicals that affect the growth of new blood vessels in the brain.
While recent research points to 4,000 steps as the magic number when it comes to walking to improve brain health, focusing on time rather than steps may be a better way to ensure you are moving enough daily. Aim for 30 minutes a day, but remember that 10 min a day is better than nothing at all. Also, breaking up your daily walking requirement into 10-minute segments, three time a day, may be more doable.
Make walking part of your daily routine, just like your morning cup of coffee or brushing your teeth. The more you walk, the more likely you are to see and feel improvements. Your brain and body will thank you for it!