Well, you have heard it here before, the receptors drive the brain, and here is another study that backs this up. Remember that receptors, which include not only joint mechanoreceptors, but also muscle mechanoreceptors (muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs) and tactile receptors in the skin (Merkels discs, paccinian corpuscles, etc) feed into the brain cortex (via the dorsal column system) and the cerebellum (via the spino cerebellar system). This afferent (sensory information) input is important for proper coordination as well as cognition and learning.
Remember, your brain is always remodeling. Here, the old adage “if you don’t use it, you will lose it” applies. More input = more synapses = more neuronal growth. So less motion = less input=synaptic atrophy = fewer connections and thus slower brain function.
Increased speed and length of stride stretches receptors more; decreased speed and shorter stride lengths decrease receptor activation. So, take big steps quickly, or you may turn into a zombie ! There is a reason why they walk slowly !
In July 2012 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia Mayo Clinic researchers presented research indicating that walking problems such as a slow gait and short stride are associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline. Computer assessed gait parameters (stride length, cadence and velocity) in study participants at two or more visits roughly 15 months apart. They revealed that participants with lower cadence, velocity and length of stride experienced significantly larger declines in global cognition, memory and executive function.