Walking – It’s a Superpower


If anybody reading my short-posts on Health & wellness section might realize that I am probably obsessed with walking, exercise etc. etc., which is probably true. And I confess that indeed I am deeply interested in fitness, wellness, healthy lifestyle. I like to read about health and wellness and remaining fit at an older age and incorporate some practical measures into my daily habit.

Here is yet another inspirational article on Walking by Amy Fleming of The Guardian where she does a walking interview with neuroscientist Shane O’Mara in the city streets of Dublin.

Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara believes that plenty of regular walking unlocks the cognitive powers of the brain like nothing else. He explains why you should exchange your gym kit for a pair of comfy shoes and get strolling.

– Amy Fleming on The Guardian

To get maximum health benefits of walking, Prof. O’Mara recommends that “speed should be consistently high over a reasonable distance – say consistently over 5km/h, sustained for at least 30 minutes, at least four or five times a week.”

Our sensory systems work at their best when they’re moving about the world. […] from the scientific literature, that getting people to engage in physical activity before they engage in a creative act is very powerful. My notion – and we need to test this – is that the activation that occurs across the whole of the brain during problem-solving becomes much greater almost as an accident of walking demanding lots of neural resources.

– Prof. O’Mara in The Guardian Interview (source: The Guardian)

You’re walking rhythmically together and there are all sorts of rhythms happening in the brain as a result of engaging in that kind of activity, and they’re absent when you’re sitting. One of the great overlooked superpowers we have is that, when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened. Rhythms that would previously be quiet suddenly come to life, and the way our brain interacts with our body changes.

– Prof. O’Mara (source: The Guardian)

While responding to Amy Fleming about some people’s thinking that walking does not count an exercises, Prof. O’Mara says “This is a terrible mistake. What we need to be is much more generally active over the course of the day than we are. And often, an hour at the gym doesn’t cut it. What you see if you get people to wear activity monitors is that because they engage in an hour of really intense activity, they engage in much less activity afterwards.”