Walking runaway winner in the world of exercise


While many of us think walking is ‘cheating’, a growing body of evidence suggests that it’s actually one of the best forms of exercise for both body and brain. Experts reveal what walking could do for you. The human ability to walk has been a crucial part of our success as a species.
Scientists think part of the reason walking is so good for us is that our bodies have evolved to move in this way. Our ancestors weren’t running around. They were walking, an estimated 15 miles a day when they were hunter gatherers. Bodies hate jolty, aggressive movement as you get with jogging. Walking allows your heart to pump in a rhythmical way, meaning your circulation is at its most efficient.
The pelvis, the sacroiliac joint in the lower back, and the S-shaped curve of the spine are designed for shock-absorbing vertical force. Walking nourishes and ‘juices’ the discs and joints of the back. Cardiovascular activity boosts blood flow to the brain, triggering new neurons to grow, giving the brain a ‘cushion’ that protects from dementia.
A U.S. study last year showed a daily stroll may increase the size of your brain. Walking is good for the brain because it makes it multitask. When we walk we integrate visual input, auditory input and input coming from joints and muscles.
Like all exercise, walking releases the ‘feel-good’ hormones endorphins, serotonin and dopamine — but its gentle pace is thought to be one of the best for depression. Walking outdoors is better for you: being in contact with nature seems to provide mental restoration.