What feels like the most humble activity to do, walking, in reality, is quite a difficult task to accomplish for the human brain. According to Shane O'Mara, a neuroscientist and author of the new book 'In Praise of Walking', walking is a hugely difficult task for the human brain to pull off, still, it is the most basic thing we do every day.
He said, "Our waking minds are often "flickering between big-picture states - thinking about what we have to do tomorrow, plans for next year, engaging in what is called 'mental time travel' - and task-focused work," O'Mara explains.
If you have ever studied robotics or even have a decent idea about it, you'll know that making the machine walk is one of the most difficult things to do. Reminding us to not take our superpower lightly, O'Mara said, "Robots can't do this. Getting a robot to cross the road is really hard". But for our incredible brain, crossing a busy road is just another everyday task.
Our brain indulges in constant "cognitive mapping" while walking. This can be summed up as "our internal GPS," a way to keep a track of majority landmarks and directions.
In short, everyday walking is actually an incredibly difficult task. "Robots can't do this. Getting a robot to cross the road is really hard," O'Mara reminds us. But for your incredible brain, crossing a busy intersection is a breeze.
In the Guardian article O'Mara "cites a 2018 study that tracked participants' activity levels and personality traits over 20 years, and found that those who moved the least showed malign personality changes, scoring lower in the positive traits: openness, extraversion and agreeableness." Sitting around all day can literally make you a grumpier, more narrow-minded person.
Moral: Don't take walking lightly. It's a super-power, own it!