In the best or worst of times, the human mind can in a single moment feel so cluttered with competing thoughts that we too easily fall into doubt and lethargy, of both an emotional and physical persuasion.
Probably the best thing you can do, and this is science talking, is get to your feet and step through the door and head out into the world.
If there is a big park nearby, even better.
While it was once standard practice to keep sick people immobile, including cancer patients, evidence – mounting over the past decade – has shown that moving the body is a lifesaver, whoever you are.
An exciting 2015 study from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh used mobile electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain waves and emotional responses in test subjects who were sent strolling through parks and golf courses.
The study found that by simply walking through these green spaces calmed the brain and put the test subjects into a more meditative state.
Another study, from Bellarmine University, Department of Exercise Science, in Louisville, Kentucky, and going back to 2011, found that engaging in even gentle physical activity – and walking is about as gentle as you can get – significantly cuts the risk of heart attack and stroke. And you’ll sleep better.
OK, but surely running will do you more good than just plodding along? Well, no.
In 2013, US scientists conducted a big study using data from thousands of runners and walkers, and they found that for the same amount of energy used – or calories burned – walking delivered greater health benefits than running. Consider these results:
- Walking reduced the risk of heart disease by 9.3 per cent
- The risk of first-time high blood pressure was reduced by 7.2 per cent by walking.
The participants of the studies were aged from 18 to 80, and were observed over a period of six years.
Which, apart from kiddies in strollers, broadly defines the participants in community events such as the Mother’s Day Classic.
A sense of community is well accepted to be good for you. Getting among a community at such an event, and putting one foot in front of the other at the same time, doesn’t require you to go at it in a rush.
Good on all you runners. Go for it. Get that blood pumping.
You’re all winners either way.
The New Daily is a media partner of the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, which takes place in 100 locations across Australia on Sunday, May 12, raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help fund life-saving breast cancer research projects. Registrations are open here.