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Creating brain-friendly habits for enhanced brain function, better life balance.

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

During lockdown, and the pandemic in general, with many adults and children working or learning remotely, there can be many, often overlooked, benefits from taking a daily walk before the start of your working day. It is not news that walking benefits both our physical and mental health. According to research, even 10 minutes of brisk walking can have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. It also helps to enhance creativity, increase focus, attention, concentration, memory and energy levels, and therefore, improves productivity and our ability to learn. Not only that, but a brisk walk on a work/school day can help us create a clear boundary between work/school time and home time, which many people have been struggling with during the pandemic. Moreover, taking a brisk walk before starting work is a good habit that our brain is familiar with, and help to create some form of certainty that our brain likes and craves which is particularly important in times of constant uncertainty. Lastly, making a short walk our daily goal and achieving it, instructs our brain to release dopamine - a neurotransmitter associated with reward and confidence. Not just adults but also children may be struggling with some aspects of virtual learning, and could benefit from having clearer boundaries between school and home, and starting their day energised, refreshed and focused. Getting back to virtual learning after Christmas was fun at first for my 11-year-old daughter; rolling out of bed 15 mins before lessons, having her pyjama bottoms on while in class etc. However, the excitement soon started to wear off, and she has begun to get tired and at times, emotional. Making sure that she replenishes, relaxes and has physical movement at break time helped, but since we introduced a brisk morning walk on a school day it has made a noticeable difference. It has only been a week, but she has already seen a noticeable benefit from doing it, saying she feels more energised and focused, and therefore does the morning walk happily. In fact, it is now her making sure that we do it every day! So, not only the act of walking, but its pace, frequency and timing can make a big difference to our health and wellbeing and can positively impact our life in lockdown, and can also help the working-from-home parents of virtually-learning children create a greater sense of ‘normality’.

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