Contrary to the popular belief, you don’t need to get a fancy gym membership to enjoy better health. Walking is one of those activities every one of us can do. Some of us do it while completing our household chores while others do it while traveling to work or school. Even though it is one of the easiest and least stressful forms of exercise, the health benefits are countless. It can boost both your mental and physical health.
According to Stephanie Blozy, an expert in exercise science and the owner of Fleet Feet of West Hartford, CT … twenty-minute walk can boost your mental and physical health. So, whether you have depression, lack of focus or weak memory, you know what to do. Just put on your walking shoes on and go out for a quick walk.
Let us discuss some scientifically proven mental health benefits:
- Lowers depression:
Depression is one of those mental problems that affect your day to day activities even if you are physically healthy. You don’t need to swallow dozens of pills to treat this issue. You can lower your risk of developing depression by walking every day. According to a report issued by The Telegraph, a 49-study review led by King’s College London suggested walking for only twenty minutes every day reduces your chances of developing depression by one third. So whenever you feel down, lace up your sneakers and head out for a walk.
- Boost in cognitive functioning:
According to the 2016 Harvard Health report, there are various studies that have revealed that around 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise improves your cognitive function. Participants who took part in aerobic activities like jogging and walking did better on cognitive tests. Moreover, their reaction time was also improved.
- Improvement in the mood:
Physical activity results in the release of feel-good hormones – endorphins. Just like other forms of workout, walking helps your brain to release endorphins. It is one of those neurochemicals that boost your mood, reduce stress and pain and helps you feel euphoric. According to a survey conducted in the UK in 2018, women who brisk walk for 20 minutes feel a rush of endorphins in their bloodstream.
- Releases The Protein BDNF:
According to Science Daily, a 20-minute walk on a regular basis releases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, also known as, BDNF. This protein is essential for the development and survival of neurons, improvement in cognitive function and synaptic plasticity. It is important for the health of your brain. Moreover, the imbalance in the levels of this protein leads to neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease.
- Relieves mental and physical fatigue:
According to a study conducted at the University of Georgia in 2008, 20 minutes of low-intensity aerobic exercise can reduce fatigue. One such exercise is walking. Studies have also revealed that walking at low-intensity levels three times a week results in a 65% reduction in the level of fatigue.
- Toughens hippocampus:
People with weak hippocampus suffer from memory problems and forgetfulness. One of the best ways to clear your cognitive haze is to walk for at least 20 minutes a day. According to NPR, even a brief walk on a daily basis can grow your hippocampus in size. This part of your brain plays an important role in the formation and storage of memory.
- Promotes creativity:
If you are having an art block, moving around a little may be the solution to your creative rut. According to Blozy, walking for only 20 minutes promotes creativity and sharpens your mind. This is one of the reasons why this low-intensity exercise is the perfect antidote for an artist’s block. This finding is confirmed by a 2014 Stanford study according to which walking on a daily basis improves an individual’s creative output by 60%.
- Increases Blood Flow to the Brain:
According to a CBC news report, studies have revealed that 20 minutes of walk increases blood flow to cerebrum. Just like any other organ of your body, your brain requires an ample supply of blood to function optimally. This blood flow is important for supplying your brain cells with nutrients and taking away toxins.
If you want to improve your cognitive health, add at least 20 minutes of brisk or low intensity walking to your routine. Within a week or two your cognitive haze will clear up and you will start feeling fresh again.