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It's time to get your walking shoes on....

Who need’s gym membership?

When you can take you mind for a walk!

Did you know going for a walk actually promotes the formation of new cells?

Most people focus on physical exercise and spend time and money on keeping physically fit. BUT what about keeping your brain fit too?

Exciting new thinking in neuroscience suggest we can keep our brains healthy by not only physical n may have adapted to anticipate that when but mental exercise too.

Physical exercise has many benefits, including growing neurotrophines; these are proteins important for the grown, health and survival of certain brain cells. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recently found that adults who did regular aerobic exercise for a year, their brain literally grew bigger and stronger through exercise.

Here is the thing, it does not have to be difficult the study found that walking is especially beneficial. 

Why? I hear you ask.

Well Neuroscientist Dr Fred Gage and his colleagues at the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute in the US, discovered that exercise causes the brain to make new brain cells. 

They suggested this could relate to the activities of our earliest human ancestors. Doidge explains ‘When did animals such as ourselves walk? It was usually when we had to leave the existing environment because of predators or to find food. We had to go to a new environment and, when we got there, we had to explore and learn all about it. 

The brain may have adapted to anticipate that when an animal goes on a long walk, it will be entering into a new environment that it will explore and learn about – hence the brain forms new cells for that task. All forms of exercise are good for us and therefore our brains but, if there is a panacea in medicine it’s walking

Mental and physical exercise have different effects. It’s now known that cognitive exercise stops existing neurons from degrading and wasting away, plus it helps build new connections. 

Our brains evolved to learn but Doidge says the learning has to be demanding. When we talk about demanding, it’s not just enough to read a newspaper as that skill was mastered a long time ago.

It’s about engaging in skills that have some novelty and challenge, so you are working harder than normal. 

Learning a new language or a new dance could all have a beneficial effect.

If your wanting to make a change in mind and body think about learning a new language or a new dance, they are shown to be beneficial. 

‘When you put a demand on your brain it fires clearer, faster signals’, says Doidge.

It’s never been easier to take care of your mind and body.

What will you do today that is different to what you did yesterday.?

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