Here’s another good reason for going for daily walks. A study of nearly 300 people in Pittsburgh, USA, found that those who walked at least 9.7km a week had less age-related brain shrinkage than people who walked less. In other words, walking at least 9.7km per week may help keep dementia at bay.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia which affects an estimated 26 million people worldwide. Brain cells are slowly killed off in those afflicted, and there is presently no cure for this disease. However, activities like walking have been shown to build brain volume.
The University of Pittsburgh study – published on Wednesday in the journal “Neurology” – began in 1995 and involved 299 volunteers who were free of dementia and who were asked to keep track of how much they walked. Nine years later, their brains were scanned to measure brain volume. Four years after that, researchers tested the volunteers for any dementia or cognitive impairment. They found that the risk of developing memory problems was halved in those who walked roughly 9.7km to 14.5km a week.
Researcher Dr. Kirk Erickson said: “Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems. Our results should encourage well-designed trials of physical exercise in older adults as a promising approach for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease”.
Prevention is always better than cure, so put on your walking shoes!