Are you sedentary? Even a little movement can help bring multiple benefits to your brain health. A new study says that walking fewer than 4,000 steps can have a positive impact on brain health. Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease says that even a moderate amount of exercise can have a significant impact on brain health. The study looked at brain scans of 10,000 people and concluded that a daily walk of fewer than 4,000 steps could expand brain volume and provide neuroprotective effects. If you’re someone who doesn’t have much time for physical activity, a simple 30-35 minute walk can be helpful in boosting your memory and cognitive health.
Why walking is good for your body and mind
Regular walking has been linked to a number of benefits for both physical and mental health. Daily walks can do wonders for your heart health by improving circulation and managing blood pressure. It can also help with weight management which could further reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Taking some time to walk can help promote the release of happy hormones that can reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. Walking is also good for your bones and joints and helps promote bone density. (Also Read: 10 Surprising Benefits Of Walking For Expectant Mothers)
How walking improves your mental health
Dr Samrat D Shah, an internal medicine specialist at Bhatia Hospital Mumbai says that walking 4000 steps can provide many mental health benefits.
“First, exercise, including walking, releases endorphins, known as ‘feel good’ hormones. These endorphins can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, promoting a more positive mood and overall mental well-being. In addition, walking improves blood circulation, including to the brain, enhancing cognition and memory,” says Dr. Shah.
The expert notes that walking can help provide a break from everyday stressors, allowing one to clear the mind and gain a new perspective.
Benefits of walking 4000 steps daily
Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Founder-Director and Senior Psychiatrist, Manasthali shares more benefits of walking 4,000 steps daily.
1. Stress reduction: Engaging in a daily walk, even just 4000 steps, can act as a powerful stress reliever. Physical activity promotes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, helping to relieve stress and tension. The rhythmic nature of walking also provides an opportunity for mindfulness, allowing individuals to focus on the present moment and temporarily escape the stresses of everyday life.
2. Improved mood and emotional well-being: Walking has been linked to increased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation. By regularly reaching the 4000 step goal, individuals may experience an uplift in their overall mood and emotional well-being.
3. Improved cognitive function: Walking has been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function, including improving memory and creativity. Increased blood flow to the brain during physical activity promotes the growth of new neurons and fosters better connectivity, contributing to sharper cognitive abilities.
4. Better Sleep Quality: Establishing a consistent walking routine can positively affect sleep patterns. The physical exertion and mental relaxation brought about by walking can help regulate sleep cycles, leading to better sleep quality.