Walking is not only good for your body—it’s also good for your brain
The first Friday in April is National Walk to Work Day. This may not be practical for everyone, since walking is not the commute of choice for most of us (nearly 9 out of 10 Americans drive to work). But there’s usually a way to find a window in your day to take a stroll. It turns out it’s not just good for your health; it’s good for your mind, too.
What we know is: Walking can improve brain function. It doesn’t matter how many miles you go, or whether you’re in a mall, on the treadmill at the gym, or climbing a mountain trail. The benefits of walking apply to everyone who makes time for this exercise.
Here are just some of the reasons that taking a walk can help you between the ears:
1. It gets you out in nature
Getting exercise outdoors in nature has a range of benefits, including helping to increase your self-esteem. When you’re exposed to doses of natural sunlight, you’re getting an important influx of vitamin D, which is a great antidote to depression. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
2. It cuts down on the stress
Exercise helps your brain to cope with stress. If you have any depression or anxiety, the endorphins of a brisk walk can help to alleviate these conditions.
3. It makes you more productive
If you need to get a lot done in a certain period of time, build in time for at least a short walk. People who make this a priority have been shown to have more energy and be more productive.
4. It helps you relax
If you have trouble sleeping, then a good long walk can contribute to a good night’s sleep.
5. It helps you to become more creative
Need a creative breakthrough? Make time to take a long walk and see how it helps to get your creative juices flowing.
6. It makes you feel more confident
Exercise can help you to improve your self-image, by boosting your sense of self-worth and attractiveness.
7. It keeps your brain sharp
If you’re between the ages of 25 and 45, getting exercise has been shown to raise the levels of brain chemicals that are essential to learning and memory.
Who doesn’t want to feel more confident, think clearly, and sleep well? Walking is such a simple path to these and so many other mental health benefits. Now that you’ve read this, maybe you can feel the urge coming on for a ten-minute walk!
This article is part of the Salter School’s weekly blog. We offer career advice as well as information about general health and wellness for our students. Learn more about our range of career training programs, or schedule a tour of one of our campuses in Fall River or Malden, MA.