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Everyone has heard the expression, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what about a walk a day? There are immediate health benefits for a short walk, such as relaxation and stress relief. Research shows that physical activity can also help prevent and manage chronic diseases.
When you take a moment to step outside and enjoy nature, how do you feel? If you cannot recall this feeling, it has been too long! While many of us walk through the city streets or our neighbourhood streets frequently, how often do you walk in the country, through the woods, or next to a stream? You may protest and say that you live in an urban area, and there are no rivers and forests nearby.
Modern urban cities often plan ‘green space’ for their citizens. Parks and gardens can be found, if you know where to look. The Internet can be a great resource to find hidden gems in an urban area. Nature walks result in decreased anxiety and increased memory performance, compared to just walking in an urban area (Bratman, 2015).
The hippocampus is located in the limbic part of the brain and is thought to be the centre of memory and emotion.
Physical activity has been linked to hippocampal volume, meaning that increased aerobic activity may increase the size of the hippocampus. This is especially important as we age, as dementia and memory loss can occur. Increasing your physical activity may very well be a key to a longer, healthier life (Varma, 2015).
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
John Muir, Scottish-American Naturalist
We often grumble about not having enough time for all of our usual tasks, much less to add twenty minutes to take a walk. However, there are definite health benefits to a stroll in the woods, and taking this time for yourself is important.
Bring a pair of sneakers to the office, and keep them under your desk. When you bump into them, take a fifteen or a twenty-minute walk.
Try not to think about work or worries at home or any of a million problems that might pop in your head. Instead, breathe deeply and look around. This will help integrate your brain, body. Stretch your muscles and let your mind have a respite from the busy day. When you are back in the office, you will realise how much clearer your mind is and how your own Performance improves.
Bratman, G. N., Hamilton, J. P., Hahn, K. S., Daily, G. C., & Gross, J. J. (2015). Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(28), 8567–8572. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1510459112
Varma, V. R., Chuang, Y., Harris, G. C., Tan, E. J., & Carlson, M. C. (2015). Low-intensity daily walking activity is associated with hippocampal volume in older adults. Hippocampus, 25(5), 605–615. http://doi.org/10.1002/hipo.22397
These Stories on Performance
Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.
Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.
Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership
In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.
Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.
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