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Take a hike: how walking benefits the brain

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Take a hike: how walking benefits the brain

Summertime is the perfect season to find practices that enhance learning and brain development without sitting in a classroom or studying at home. Walking is one of the easiest and most beneficial forms of activity that benefits your mind, body, and soul. Consider how walking benefits the brain:

 

Sunshine

 

Here in Arizona, walking in the sun can be scorching, but there are still benefits to the brain for hiking in the daylight. Try to get outside in the early morning hours before the heat rises too much – and make sure to stay hydrated.

 

Getting outside regularly in the daylight is proven to improve sleep, mood, and overall health. Check out this article for in-depth details.

 

Vitamin D, which your body creates from exposure to sunlight, is neuroprotective and regulates the immune system. Deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to mental illness like depression and schizophrenia. Even as little as 15 minutes of sunlight a day can regulate healthy vitamin D levels.

 

Physical benefits

 

Walking strengthens the cardiovascular system, builds muscle strength and balance, and supports endurance – especially for longer hikes, uphill climbs with switchbacks, or young children desperate for snacks and rest.

 

Older adults also benefit from walking. This study shows that regular brisk walking slows cognitive decline and improves cognition and memory – even going so far as to change the physical matter in the brain for the better.

 

With the blood flowing, the body moving, and the accomplishment of hiking from point A to point B, children and adults alike feel refreshed and confident after a long hike – and often tired too. Reminding yourself that you can do challenging things, overcome obstacles, and even climb mountains goes a long way. It builds attitudes of stamina, perseverance, and positivity that will crossover into schoolwork and life.

 

Observations

 

Remember, nature is a classroom! A hike in the great outdoors will open your eyes to animals, plants, mathematical principles, poetic thoughts, and so much more that you can learn in a classroom or from a book, but you won’t truly know until you experience.

 

Drink in the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around you. Make note of things you are curious to explore further. Bring friends and family with whom you can share the experience. Even a neighborhood walk next to busy streets can teach you and inspire you.

 

Self Development Academy is a K-8 nationally awarded charter school of excellence with an advanced learning curriculum. In addition to online learning, we have campuses in Phoenix and Mesa. If you are interested in our schools, contact us at (480) 641-2640 or (602) 274-1910 to get more information. We would love to have you!