You’ve known for years about the benefits of including a regimen of walking and or running into your daily / weekly exercise routine.  That it’s very beneficial to both your heart and cardiovascular system. But did you also know that running or walking can also provide you with a more active and youthful brain?

Running actually helps your brain to grow.  Not in the physical sense (size way) but rather in the creation of new nerve cells and blood vessels within the brain.  As you age, your brain usually shrinks in size. But recent studies have shown that an increase in walking / running may help increase the volume of the mid brain (which controls vision and hearing) and the hippocampus (which is linked to memory and learning).

Running helps your brain age better.
In addition to preventing or reversing age-related shrinkage, running affects brain chemicals in a way that sets runners up to have a healthier-than-average brain later in life. A study last year measured neural markers and cognitive function in middle-aged athletes and non-athletes, and while the cognitive function scores were the same, researchers found the athletes’ brains showed greater metabolic efficiency and neural plasticity.

Running boosts your ability to learn and recall information.
A study from Boston University, found that at least moderately fit people did better on memory tests than those who were less fit (or not fit at all). This adds to earlier research that links running to a better ability to focus, to juggle multiple tasks, and to make distinctions.

Running, especially in nature, helps keep your brain full of feel-good chemicals.
Exercise promotes the release of the feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Additionally, like many antidepressant medications, running helps your brain hold on to mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. For best results, run in quiet, green spaces instead of on crowded streets — When,  this is followed studies have found that people who ran / walked on trails, parks and country settings achieved the same kind of calmness as people who are meditating or doing yoga! Unlike people who exercise in a more urban setting, such as a city or metropolitan area.

Tracking Your Performance.  In order to keep track of your progress as you continue to increase your running regimen, try using the Yamax SW701 Multi-Function Digi-Walker Pedometer One of the world’s most respected pedometers for its excellent reliability and accuracy. Use this while walking, hiking, jogging or running.  Keep track of your steps, distance, stride and calories burned.

Remember, running besides helping you have a healthier body, can now can help you maintain and improve your brain as it ages.

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