Walking Builds Brains

Posted on May 11th, 2011, by iMinerva

Young Couple with Two Children (8-12) Walking on the Beach

Walking at least six miles a week may be good for the brain.  The University of Pittsburg studied 299 dementia-free adults over a period of 13 years and determined that those who walked the most reduced their risk of memory problems by half.

It seems that memory is affected as the brain shrinks with aging.   According to the study, walking may help to increase the volume of the brain’s gray matter and thus hold off diminishing cognitive ability.  The U of Pitt study showed that people who walked at least 72 blocks per week – or about six to nine miles – had more gray matter volume nine years into the study than those who didn’t walk as much.

The great advantage to walking is all you need is a good pair of shoes and determination.  While many communities offer access to the wonders of nature – like an arboretum, the zoo, a lakefront or wilderness trail – walking paths are everywhere.  Walk in the local park and listen to the birds.  Walk the neighborhood and check out the neighbor’s gardens.  If the weather is foul, head to the mall.  Grab your gal pals and start a walking club like my “Trotters.”  It really helps to have the encouragement and commitment of friends.

There are too many good reasons to stride out – shrink your butt, boost cardio, spend time with friends, and build your gray matter!  It’s easy – one foot at a time.

For a guide to walking, check out Prevention Magazine.

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