Walking. It’s something we all do. It’s something we all eagerly teach our little babies to do.
One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.
Walking takes balance, coordination, muscle movement. It’s quite a complicated thing, if you think about it. (And sometimes we even stumble and fall, reminding us that walking can be tricky, right?)
But the science behind taking a walk is pretty cool. There are astounding benefits of taking a stroll, ranging from the obvious positive physical benefits to the more intricate chemical benefits for your mind.
5 Reasons to Take a Stroll
There are many reasons to go out for a walk. Here are the top 5 in my opinion – and if you want to add a little more benefit, bring a friend along. That support from a friend or family member will definitely add to the overall benefits of a walk!
Increases blood flow to your brain –
Going on a walk does exactly what you think it would – increases your blood flow. Right? Your heart is going be beating just a little faster and your muscles are working hard to move your body. This increases your blood flow throughout your body, but most importantly to your brain. The blood flowing to your brain brings good things in (nutrients) and the blood leaving your brain takes with it the used things (toxins). You can kind of think of this as washing your mind – refreshing it with new nutrients so that it can work just a little better and clearer!
Memory. Can we just stop and recognize the fact that mom brain is a real thing. We forget things, we can’t seem to recall simple words, and we just aren’t as sharp as we used to be. (P.S. this is okay – we have the power to make a human being, I think sacrificing a little bit of memory is worth it.)
Studies have shown that walking can increase the size of the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory among other things. Wild, right?! Just walking can literally change our organs! Our minds become sharper, more creative, and our cognitive functions are strengthened.
Boosts your mood
Sure, we all know that walking is good for us. But there really is science behind it! And anything we can do to help our depression or anxiety is a win. Walking and other types of exercise increase the endorphins that our bodies produce, which can help with our anxiety. Walking also has been shown to prevent depression or even help at reducing depressive symptoms.
Increases energy levels
You’ve been up all night, your kids are taking every ounce of energy that you have, and you keep chugging the coffee, hoping that you’ll one day be able to sleep. And while sleep is SUPER important for a healthy mind, walking instead of napping can actually GIVE you energy. Counterintuitive, I know, but getting outside for a walk can actually help you fight your sleepiness and give you energy to conquer the day.
Good for your body, too
Just like any kind of physical activity, walking is good for your body. It’s low impact, good for your heart, and will actually help you make better food choices (it’s a mental thing – your body feels good and wants more of it!)
I could go on about the positive things a walk can bring, but I think you get the point. This is one reason we at Postpartum Support Charleston have two different walking groups – because we know the benefits are countless, and it’s a low impact physical activity that new moms can do (after being cleared by your doctor post delivery).
Join us or grab a friend to go on a walk.
Bring the kids or go solo.
Listen to a podcast or just enjoy the silence.
However you choose to walk, your mind will thank you!
“Keep walking through the storm. Your rainbow is on the other side.”