Walking and your brain

I’ve been systematically walking and running for going on 40 years now. 

I mostly do this for the fitness benefits. I’ve long noticed, however, that I seem to get some of my best ideas while I’m out and about, on my feet.

I’ve also noticed that when I’m perplexed or upset about a problem, a long walk often makes me feel better about it.

I may even come up with a solution while I’m out. 

There is really something to this, as reported in Science Daily the other day:

You probably know that walking does your body good, but it’s not just your heart and muscles that benefit. Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) found that the foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain.

I’ve noticed that I derive mental and creative benefits from walking/running that I don’t get from other forms of cardio, like riding a stationary bike. I get a lot of reading done on my stationary bike. I generally enjoy it. But it doesn’t bring the mental “buzz” of walking or running. (And no, I do not smoke weed when I go for walks/runs.)

I had always attributed this to the obvious factors: When you walk or run, you’re going somewhere. You have a destination. When you ride a stationary bike, you stay in the same spot. 

But the truth is not always so obvious. And come to think of it, this makes sense: I walk/run the same route I’ve been running for years, so there’s little in the way of exploration going on. It might be that foot to the ground thing, after all.