Natural health

WALKING HELPS MAINTAIN NORMAL BRAIN FUNCTION AND ENCOURAGES NEW BRAIN CELL DEVELOPMENT

Vol. 8 Issue 107

New research conducted at the University of Illinois determined that simply walking every two to three days can make dramatic differences in helping to maintain normal brain function and the development of new brain cells.

Researchers utilized MRI scans to measure changes in brain activity in adults between the ages of 58 to 78, before and after a six-month program of aerobic exercise.

Participants gradually built up to walking at a moderate pace, three times per week for 45 minute sessions.

At the end of the six-month period, researchers discovered that the brain activity of the walking participants was similar to that of healthy, fit seniors, whereas, little, if any improvements in brain activity were noted among members of the comparison group, whose activities were limited to stretching and toning exercises.

Researchers determined that after several months of regular walking, older adults showed an increase in blood flow to the brain — which resulted in improved learning, memory and attention ability.

Results of this study show that aging adults who give up their sedentary lifestyle and replace it with a simple fitness regimen that consists of brisk walking, will have improved focus and better decision-making capabilities.

SOURCE: Alternative Medicine, August 2004, p. 11; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign News Bureau, February 16, 2004; www.news.uiuc.edu/news.