Walking Helps Prevent Dementia, Memory Loss

While many people believe that crosswords and social interaction help keep the brain active and reduce the risk of dementia, walking or jogging may be the best preventative medicine.

Regular exercise has long been known to reduce the risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer's. Further evidence was presented last month in a study at the University of Pittsburgh that showed that the natural process of a brain shrinking at a rate of about 1% a year can be reversed. People in the study aged between 55 and 80 who took at least a brisk 40-minute walk three times a week showed about a 2% increase in the size of the hippocampus — the brains' memory hub — knocking almost two years off its biological age.

The exercise does not need to be highly vigorous to gain these benefits, which is good news for older people who may have difficuly running. Walking at a brisk pace is all that is needed.

While exercising your brain with crosswords can't hurt, the best workout for your mind is to use your feet!

Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.

Tags: Y, YMCA, walking, Jogging, Exercise, dementia, disease prevention

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