According to research, a healthy lifestyle can help us protect against brain defects brought about by aging. The simplest way to boost our brain’s health is through walking. Many of us already know what the benefits of regular walking are, but only a few know that a healthy brain is one of the rewards.
Studies regarding brain health benefits were conducted by various groups. One of these was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California conducted a study to determine how much exercise in the form of walking our body needs to maintain a healthy brain.
Individuals aged 60 and above with memory complaints but no dementia were chosen as study participants. They were then divided into two groups: those who walked 4000 steps over a two-year period and those who walked 4000 steps or fewer daily. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests were used by the researchers to assess the thickness and volume of a part of the brain known as the hippocampus – which is involved in memory, emotion, and learning. They found out that the needed steps are 4000 steps daily. As compared to those walking less, the group who walks over 4000 steps daily had thicker hippocampi, speedier information processing, better attention and better working memory to make decisions.
Walking really fuels our brain. As a form of exercise, it’s the simplest way to increase oxygen-rich blood to the brain, which provides both nutrients and oxygen the brain needs to properly function.
Ways to Walk More
You can simply strap on your best walking shoes and hit the pavement. Or maybe, you can have some small changes in your daily routine so that you can add up more steps each day. If you want to get started today, then here are some of the suggestions that might help you get started.
- Walk to work
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Pace the room while you’re on the phone
- Arrive early at your next appointment and take a walk around the block while you’re waiting
- Go for a walk on your lunch break
- Park a few rows from your destination rather than right by the door
- Go for an after-dinner stroll
- Walk around your living room or in place whenever there are television commercials on
- Take an extra lap of the mall before you head out
- Walk to complete your errands
- Get off a stop early on your bus or subway route and walk the remaining distance
- After a restaurant meal out, go for a stroll before heading home
- Take the scenic route…on foot
- Set an alarm on your computer and do a lap of your office floor or around your yard (if you work from home) every hour or two