TAKE YOUR BRAIN FOR A WALK

Vancouver Magazine - - 25 Ways To Live Forever - Jen­nifer Van Evra

There are plenty of ben­e­fits to walk­ing—cardiac health, re­lax­ation, el­e­vated mood—but a UBC re­searcher has shown that walk­ing can also help ward o­ cog­ni­tive de­cline in peo­ple at risk of de­men­tia. In one study, as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of phys­i­cal ther­apy Teresa Li­uAm­brose had 71 par­tic­i­pants aged 56 to 96—all with cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment from dam­age to tiny blood ves­sels in their brains—walk three times per week, grad­u­ally in­creas­ing their in­ten­sity. Oth­ers did not fol­low the ex­er­cise pro­gram but kept with their usual rou­tines. Among the walk­ers, they found sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in mem­ory and cog­ni­tive func­tion; in other words, they could help stave o­ the cog­ni­tive de­clines as­so­ci­ated with de­men­tia. But they had to keep up the pace: six months af­ter the study, those who had stopped walk­ing saw the ben­e­fits di­min­ish. “The head and the body are con­nected,” says Liu-Am­brose. “And ex­er­cise truly is the magic pill.”—

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