Walking & Mental Health

Walking has often been recommended as a form of physical activity, some of the reasons to include that it is widely accessible, it does not cost, reduces weight, it has a low risk of injury and could be associated with improving mental health, calming the mind, relieving stress, anxiety and depression.

Research into the field of mental health and physical activity is growing and many studies have been conducted between links in walking, mental performance and cognitive functioning.  Kramer, et al (1999) found that those who undertook walking or some form of cardiovascular fitness showed substantial improvements in mental cognitive functioning, for example, the speed and how quickly they could process and switch tasks.  Further evidence supporting Kramer, may lie in the findings of Weuve et al (2004) who found that higher levels of regular, long term physical activity and training the cardiovascular system were associated with better cognitive performance, especially among older women.  Other factors in the study included a better quality of life, self-esteem and general mood.  By engaging in regular physical activity, can not only help with weight loss, an promote a sense of well-being, but may prevent mental health disorders.

 

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