Go For a Daily Brain Walk

Walking supports the function of brain neurons – specifically those in the hippocampus, that are important for learning and memory. A study from 2012 in the journal Neurology looked at elderly adults and determined that:

Those who were least active had a 230% greater risk of Alzheimer’s compared to those who were most active.

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Although Hippocrates was likely referring to more than just the brain when he said “walking is a man’s best medicine,” the cognitive support from this daily practice is profound. For instance, researchers from the University of Western Australia have suggested that:

Regular physical activity of only 20min/day could improve brain function by as much as 1800%!

In this study specifically, the subjects grew new brain cells and blood vessels, had better blood flow, memory, attention, and language ability.  Harvard researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association found similar results in 2004, and concluded that:

Brains of those who do regular physical activity are equivalent to being 3 years younger, and have as much as a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline.

Not surprisingly, the research is available from a variety of reliable sources – showing everything from better memory, cognitive ability, and mood, to lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and depression – simply from moving a little bit more EVERY day.

Which seems so basic right?

But tell me how many times you satisfy this requirement per week?

It’s so basic that it’s commonly overlooked. And realistically, the majority of the population wouldn’t be able to go for a full 30 minute walk without fatigue and soreness the next day. Make that through the woods with a solid grade, and many wouldn’t be able to make it to the finish.

In North America, we go to Disney World for vacation and we’re exhausted at the end of the day…from walking!

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Instead of worrying about going to the gym to ‘workout,’ most of us should be focusing on the basics to improve our health and body composition:

  • Eating Right
  • Sleeping
  • Walking

Before you buy another workout dvd, join another gym, or start looking up 3-week shred programs online, try walking every day for 30 minutes. If not for a better body, do it for a better brain. One study from 2011 in the journal PNAS compared yoga and walking, and found:

Growth in the hippocampus and improved memory in the walkers, and brain deterioration and shrinkage in the yogis.

It’s not ‘how long’ or ‘how hard’ we exercise, it’s that we exercise…consistently!

Walking is the perfect way to start.

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike