As little as 40 minutes of walking a day can make a huge difference to your mental health and how efficiently your brain is able to work.
The relationship between exercise and brain function has been studied for decades and recent studies here in New Zealand have even shown memory improvements from regular brisk walking.
As you age, your brain size and function generally decreases, but frequent walking has been shown to actually increase the size of the brain’s hippocampus (memory drive), as well as halting cognitive decline.
Walking improves blood flow to your brain, and blood contains oxygen and other nutrients that nurture your brain to support mental cognition.
You don’t have to over exert yourself, it’s consistency and regularity that count.
In other words, to get the benefits to your brain, no need to walk or hike 20km per day, or even 2km at a breakneck pace.
You’re better off including a short brisk but not overly strenuous walk to your daily routine.
Not only is your thinking clearer while walking, but you’ll find your brain produces happy chemicals (serotonin, endorphins) to give you a mood boost from walking.
Bonus points for getting a walk in outside in nature.
So next time you need some serious brainpower for a tough mental task, put the coffee down and go for a wee walk – start firing and feeding your brain with the good stuff.