Posts tagged research

The power of walking

Walking is beneficial in different aspects of your life.

According to researchers at Standford University, walking boosts creative inspiration. They compared the creativity levels of participants that were walking and those that were sitting. Researchers found that a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 per cent when walking.

The research study comprised of four experiments and 176 participants. Participants were placed into different scenarios:

  1. Walking indoors on a treadmill or sitting indoors (both facing a blank wall)
  2. Walking outdoors or sitting outdoors while being pushed in a wheelchair – both along a pre-determined path on the Stanford campus.

Participants participated in different combinations, such as two consecutive seated sessions, or a walking session followed by a seated session. These sessions were also compared in the study. Researchers conclude that participants performed better on creative divergent thinking tests during and immediately after going for a walk. Divergent thinking is a “thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.”

The infographic below outlines how walking can also benefit your brain, heart, and bones, as well as your memory, mood, health, longevity, and weight.

A short 10-minute walk can benefit the brain

A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences determined that even ten minutes of mild exercise can benefit the brain. In the study, scientists from the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Tsukuba in Japan looked at a group of healthy young college students.

The study had 36 participants. They visited the research lab two separate times. On the first visit, each participant sat on a stationary bicycle for 10 minutes. On the second visit, they pedalled the bicycle at a gentle pace that barely increased their heart rates.

New York Times summarized: “In technical terms, the exercise was performed at about 30 percent of each volunteer’s heart rate reserve, or the difference between a person’s maximum heart rate and their resting heart rate. By comparison, brisk walking should raise someone’s heart rate reserve to about 50 percent.”

Participants completed a computerized memory test immediately after each session of sitting or slow pedalling. In the test, the participants would see a brief picture of an object (such as a tree), followed by a variety of other images and then a new image of either the same object or a similar object. Participants had to press buttons to indicate whether they thought each image was new or the same as an earlier image. Images closely resembled one another. The same process was repeated, with testing being completed inside an M.R.I machine that scanned the participant’s brains while they responded to the images.

Results showed that even though the exercise was undemanding, it had an effect on brain function. Participants were better at remembering images after they had ridden the bicycle, especially when the images closely resembled one another. Researchers also found that exercise altered how certain parts of the brain communicate and coordinate with one another. Exercise also improved memory function. The findings suggest that exercise does not need to be long and rigorous to benefit the brain. The effects can take place far more quickly than many of us might expect.

In an interview with New York Times, Michael Yassa, the director of the U.C. Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and senior co-author of the new study with Hideaki Soya of the University of Tsukuba, concluded: “It was exciting to see those effects occurring so quickly and after such light exercise. The findings show that exercise can change people’s brains and minds right away without requiring weeks of working out. Even better, the exertion required can be so slight as to allow almost anyone, even those who are out of shape or possibly disabled, to complete the exercise.”

More research needs to be completed to determine how, at a molecular level, gentle exercise affects brain function. Click here to learn more about the study.

Walk10Blocks App Study – Participant Survey

We are inviting you to complete a short survey on your experiences with the Walk10Blocks app study.

Walk10Blocks Research Participant Survey Banner

Dear Walk10Blocks app study participant,

We are contacting you because you consented to participate in our walking app feasibility study. We are inviting you to complete a short survey on your experiences with the Walk10Blocks app study. The survey will take less than five minutes to complete.

All information collected during this survey will only be accessed by the Walk10Blocks research team based on the university of British Columbia. The data will be used for improving the Walk10Blocks app. If you have any questions or need additional information about the study, our North American contact is walk10blocks@arthritisresearch.ca.

Thank you!

The Walk10Blocks Research Team