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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Your Brain on Walking


Exactly what happens to your brain when you walk? Just walk. Wonderful changes take place. Allow yourself to be informed, because your brain on walking - such a simple little way of exercising - achieves magnificent things:
  • your memory is improved. One study of nearly 19,000 nurses showed that those who walked about six hours per week (aged 70-81) were 20% less likely to show cognitive impairment than those who did not exercise (Source)
  • In a study at UBC, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise (e.g., walking), the kind that gets your heart and sweat glands pumping, boosts the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning, Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results. (Source)
  • Another study showed that the optimal exercise for cognitive health benefits was to walk 6-9 miles each week (1.5 miles per day, six days per week) in order to cut in half the risk of developing memory problems (Source)
  • Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors - chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells. (Source)
  • Peter Snyder of Brown's University Alpert Medical School who studies the effects of aging on the brain recently told National Public Radio that "what we're finding is that of all of these noninvasive ways of intervening, it is exercise that seems to have the most efficacy at this point - more so than nutritional supplements, vitamins, and cognitive interventions. (Source)
  • Even moderate walking (more than two hours a week) helps stave off further deterioration among elderly people in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. (Source)
  • More walking results in greater brain volume.
And walking has been shown time after time to be one of the best activities - as long as it is done on a regular basis to boost all of the above. It's so very easy. And can be very pleasurable. So what's stopping you? It's another one of those choices you can make.

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