Two recent studies at UCLA and The University if Illinois indicate that one of the most effective ways to avoid dementia and have a healthy brain as you age is to simply take a walk – three times a week for forty or more minutes. And this does not mean that you have to have walked for your entire lifetime. The participants in the study were all in their 60’s to 80’s – and could essentially be considered “couch potatoes” – living inactive lives previous to the study. They began walking slowly – since most could not walk forty minutes initially.
After a few months of walking the MRI tests clearly showed that the area of the brain that controls memory and fights dementia had grown larger.
The studies tested the simple act of walking against mental exercises like reading and doing crossword puzzles, and found that for some reason physical exercise was much more effective at keeping a healthy brain, and that starting to walk at virtually any age could significantly help with brain health.