What benefits does walking bring the mind, and why? The wellbeing benefits of exercise, sport and culture are well-documented (see this recent SImetrica report produced for the UK Department for Culture, Media, and Sport).

The answer, according to this New Yorker article, begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that bothstimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them