Walking can limit the effects of dementia

www.elderrespect.org on Nov 17th 2010 02:50 pm

Many of us have painful memories of being forced to run laps in our school daysthe harsh coach blowing his whistle behind you, the smell of grass assailing your nostrils. For some, those memories are far off, and they’d prefer to keep it that way. However, a new Pittsburgh University study suggests a compromise: if you make it a point to walk, not run, at least six miles a week, you’re likely to keep your brain from shrinking, and lower your chances of contracting dementia.It’s more than a fair trade. Dementia affects over 26 million people and slowly kills off brain cells, limiting cognitive processes and memory. As of yet, there’s no known cure, but there are preventative measures. The new study, published in the Neurology journal, suggests that walking is one of them. While it’s a good practice at any age, the study found that seniors who walked a minimum of 72 blocks had more grey matter in their brains. Analysis done four years after the fact found that the reverse was also true: elderly people who did not make walking a part of their everyday life showed distinct signs of dementia.Perhaps you should thank that old gym teacher for getting you out on the track after all. And the next time you take a walk for your brain’s health, make sure to take some time to enjoy the scents of the world around you.

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