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The Mind-Boosting Benefits of Walking

The mind boosting benefits of walking, motivation, stress
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In today’s fast-paced world, finding ways to boost our cognitive abilities and enhance our mental well-being has become increasingly important. While many turn to brain-training apps or complex mental exercises, one simple and accessible activity often goes overlooked — walking.  Many have installed the “walking desk” rather than being seated in front of a computer all day. Additionally, engaging in regular walks not only benefits our physical health but also offers numerous advantages for our mental prowess. Just how does walking boost mental production and processing? We will explore five captivating reasons why walking should become an integral part of everyone’s individual routine. Let’s get motivated to move our bodies.

5 Ways Walking Boosts Mental Production and Processing

Walking can help grow new brain cells.

Now this is encouraging to most of us. Did you know that walking has the potential to promote neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells?  Scientific research has shown that physical exercise, particularly aerobic activities like walking, can stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the survival and growth of neurons in the brain. Thisphenomenon occurs primarily in the hippocampus, a region crucial for learning, memory, and cognitive functions.  

 By lacing up your shoes and taking a brisk walk, you not only give your body a workout but also encourage the development of a sharper mind.  Quite an addition to why we may have started as walkers – when our only goal was to shape up our body and give us more energy.  Talk about getting a return on an investment!

Walking may increase creativity.

We live in a fast-paced world that demands us to face intellectual challenges at a more increased rate than ever before. Every day we seem to face a problem that calls for creative problem-solving skills. Stepping outside for a deep breath and a short walk may be the solution for refreshing our mind and keeping us ready for creative thinking. Research suggests that walking can enhance creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. A study conducted at Stanford University found that walking, whether outdoors or indoors, significantly improved participants’ creative output compared to those who remained seated at their desks for the same time period.  Stepping briskly and allowing our minds freedom helps us dissect the problem and formulate methods to solve the problem and develop a new strategy.  

Walking may elevate our mood.

Do you often feel completely bound down by workload responsibilities, social interactions, and demands on your personal life? Does this regularly become an enemy of your mental well-being? Mental overload contributes not only to a mental block but also to a generalized heavy fatigue of mind and body. Incorporating regular walks into your routine can help counteract these pressures.  As you no doubt have read, walking releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, which can elevate your mood and provide a sense of overall well-being. Additionally, the rhythmic movement and meditative aspects of walking can reduce stress and anxiety.  You are able to clear your mind and approach challenges with a renewed sense of calm, mental clarity, and a refreshed spirit.

 If walking outdoors is not a safe option for you, just walking the hallways, or climbing some stairs, can substitute for the desired walk in the park. If you work from home perhaps you can make circles through your rooms or go to a nearby gym or box store. I find this works for me. Taking time for yourself in this way can have a profound impact on your mental state.  It is definitely worth the effort.  You will feel better, be more productive, and have a lift of spirit as well as mind. Who doesn’t need a mood elevator at times?

Walking May Slow Down Cognitive Decline 

This grabs our attention for sure. We entertain a definite stress of cognitive decline as we age. The idea that walking may slow down cognitive decline piques our interest. Can something as simple as walking, perhaps counting steps and being diligent in daily walking, really make a difference? This is something most of us can do.  It is certainly worth our efforts.  As we age, cognitive decline becomes a genuine concern. 

Research suggests that engaging in regular physical exercise such as walking, can help mitigate this decline.  A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that individuals who walked regularly experienced less brain shrinkage and had a lower risk of developing dementia compared to those who were sedentary.  This should help the so-called couch-potato to hop to his feet rather than risk unnecessary decline. Beginning exercise habits in one’s youth sets the stage for a healthier future, both physically and mentally.  But it is never too late to add this to a daily routine.  There again, the attractiveness of a fit body is an added asset we all welcome.

Walking May Reduce Our Stress Level

Stress is an inevitable component of life. Walking may reduce our stress level.  Stressors are everywhere. It is essential that we find effective coping mechanisms.  We can be thankful that such a simple and readily available method for stress reduction as walking is readily available.  Physical activity, including walking, stimulates the production of endorphins, which act as natural stress relievers.  Walking outdoors in green spaces in parks or natural environments proves to have additional stress-reducing benefits, promoting a sense of tranquility and restoration.  A sense of balance and relief from the pressures of life can be the reward for making this time available on a regular basis. 

 If making excuses for the absence of physical exercise is your norm, take a deep breath and make time for this activity.  It is accessible, affordable, and brings quick rewards. So, hop up, tie those shoes, and find your rhythm. You may want to wear a watch that counts your steps and gives you words of encouragement.  Engaging a friend or spouse to walk with you is great – we all benefit from an accountability partner. 

Walking with Jesus has benefits for body, mind, and spirit.

A daily walk with Jesus centers our minds and spirits.  Much of the teaching of Jesus was done as he walked with his followers to the next town.  Certainly, we do not want to go back to a world without automobiles and all the modes of transportation upon which we rely.  However, it was in the quiet time of talking to the few and sitting on the hillside teaching, that they and we learn from the God-Man who walked on the water of the raging sea, as well as on the sandy, dusty roadside. Taking time to listen to Him today and walking with Him, listening to His Words of encouragement, of love, of grace and mercy, has benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.

This daily walking with Jesus gives us hope, forgiveness, assurance, and it is here that we, by grace through faith, may accept the love and eternal life that he offers us. Just as we make time and plans in order to reap the benefits of physical walking, the decision to make the time to seek God and walk with him should be something we desire, and long for, and come with open mind and heart to receive.  In the Book of Psalms 3: 5-6 we read “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  We are never alone – we can trust God to sustain us as seek to walk by faith.  

The Mind-Boosting Benefits of Walking

In conclusion, we see that walking offers a multitude of benefits.  From growing new brain cells and boosting creativity to improving mood, slowing cognitive decline, and reducing stress levels. In fact, just a twenty-minute walk has proven to reduce stress. We see that the benefits of walking are conducive to mental health, physical health and to our sense of well-being.  It is an activity affordable to most of us and readily available.  Let us assign it to its proper place in our journey to healthy living. A healthy body and a healthy mind are priceless. A healthy relationship with Jesus as Lord is to be greatly desired.

For clarity in the walk with Jesus, please watch the Great News video on this page. There is hope for you!

We invite you to watch the “Great News” video on this page and find out more about God’s love for you and how you can receive forgiveness and eternal life – today!

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