Steady walking of one metre a second produces pressure waves through the arteries that "significantly increase" cerebral blood flow (CBF), say researchers from the New Mexico Highlands University.
Although the impact with the ground isn't as great as from running, it's enough to improve blood flow, a mechanism that biologists had believed was involuntarily regulated and largely unaffected by exercise.
They tested the effects of walking with a group of 12 volunteers, who were monitored as they stood still and when they walked steadily. The same researchers had earlier tested the blood flow of runners, whose foot impact measured around four to five G-force. Although the impact was far less when walking, it was still sufficient to improve brain function and create "an overall sense of wellbeing", the researchers said.