Walking May Fight Off Dementia
As we age, brain shrinkage often occurs and studies have shown that people with more brain shrinkage have a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer's and dementia.
A study published in the October 2010 issue of the journal Neurology has found that taking frequent walks may reduce brain shrinkage and prevent dementia.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh had 300 participants keep track of how much they walked each week over a one year period.
Nine years later, the researchers measured the brain volume of all the participants and then four years after that they checked in with the participants again to see how many had developed dementia.
When the researchers analyzed their data, they found that walking was associated with a significant reduction in brain shrinkage and memory loss. In fact, participants that walked between six and nine miles a week more than halved their risk of developing memory problems.
These findings support previous studies which have found that physical exercise appears to induce cellular activities that may boost brain volume. Given that there are currently no cures for dementia, it can't hurt to add a walk to your daily routine.
Low to moderate intensity exercises like walking have also been shown to reduce the risk of falls, stroke and cardiovascular disease.