We know that walking is a great exercise for physical fitness. But, did you know that it’s good for your brain too? Yes, walking is a mood booster, it amplifies your creativity, it calms your mind and so much more. Just what a busy, frazzled entrepreneur needs!
Immersed in your work and trying to fit in as much as is humanly possible into 24 hours, entrepreneurs are on a different kind of treadmill – one of stress. It’s time to explore a treadmill in the gym or find a park nearby to take a daily walk. It will help you physically, mentally and emotionally. Yes, walking provides holistic benefits.
New research presented at Experimental Biology 2017 discovered that foot-to-ground impacts when you walk and is believed to send pressure waves surging through your arteries thereby increasing blood flow to the brain. More blood flow to the brain is linked to an increased feeling of well-being as well as enhanced memory.
So here are some ways walking can positively impact your mind:
Walking sharpens your memory: Kenneth Langa, a University of Michigan professor of internal medicine, gerontology, and health management and policy says, “In general, increased blood flow to the brain is linked to improved function, protection against decline. Your memory is sharper. Your mental acuity is sharper, and even your mood, perhaps, is better.” Increased blood flow is like food for the brain cells. Walking also enhances your working memory.
It peps up your mood: Any form of physical exercise can make you feel better – so much lighter and happier. Apart from a dopamine boost, walking also enhances levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. And the advantage with walking is that you don’t need to huff and puff, lift heavy weights or contort yourself into pretzel shapes. All you have to do is lace up your walking shoes, put on your headphones with a selection of your favorite music…and you’re ready to go. And if you walk in a verdant park, the beauty of the surroundings will be an additional pick-me-up.
It gives your creativity a boost: A Stanford study discovered that walking improves your creativity by 60% versus sitting. The improvement was specific to a type of creativity called ‘divergent thinking’ described as a thought process used to spawn creative ideas by exploring several possible solutions. As an entrepreneur, creativity is one of your most valuable assets. Maybe that evening walk around the park will help you tap into many creative possibilities.
Walking can improve cognitive functioning: Walking and exercise could increase levels of a vital protein in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNFs) which play a significant role in the development of communications in the brain between cells. By increasing BDNFs, you could enhance your cognitive functioning.
So, nothing like a walk to calm your mind, clear your head and make you happier. Walking has a cocktail of benefits and for busy entrepreneurs who need to be fit both physically and mentally, walking seems like an ideal workout. Preferably try and walk for half an hour six days a week. But don’t worry if you can’t fit in half an hour at a time. Break it up into two fifteen-minute walks or three ten-minute walks. But make an attempt to fit in walking into your daily routine. And feel the benefits for yourself!