Walking to Brain Health

February 16, 2015
Walking relieves constipation for Alzheimer's patients!

Walking may aid aging parents’ brain function.

It’s no secret that getting plenty of appropriate exercise is good for everyone, from children to aging parents. How can the elderly loved ones in your life get enough exercise? One simple answer: walk.

Walking is good for health

Too often, aging parents and others get too caught up in worrying about how to exercise – often to the point that they end up doing nothing. They find it too complicated to figure out whether to go to a gym or to exercise at home, and what exercises to do.

Ideally, aging parents and others have access to personal trainers who can create an exercise regime specifically tailored to their needs – and who can then work with them one-on-one to make sure that they are able to follow that regimen and to do the exercises properly. Unfortunately though, for most people, that’s not a viable option. However, rather than simply sitting around doing nothing, most people need to simply get on their feet and walk.

A good walk doesn’t have to be strenuous in order to be beneficial. Simply going for a nice, brisk walk for about a half hour, three times a week can make a big difference for most people – especially people who are currently too sedentary.

Brain benefits

Walking is not only good for overall physical health; it also appears to positively impact brain health, which is often a concern for aging parents.

According to medical studies, people who walk for thirty to forty-five minutes, thrice weekly, are helping to prevent shrinkage of brain areas that impact memory and cognitive function; in fact, this modest amount of exercise is linked not only to preventing a decrease but also to prompting an increase in the sizes of those regions of the brain. While there’s a limit to how much increase can be achieved, the results of studies suggest that regular walking can, long term, slow down loss of brain function.

As always, if contemplating any change in exercise routines, aging parents should check with doctors first.

Writer, Craig Butler

Craig Butler has been writing on a wide range of topics for more than fifteen years. As the National Communications Director for the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, Craig regularly writes on a range of health and medical topics. Among the many projects he has written for the Foundation is the Cooley's Anemia Storybook, a collection of original short stories for children with the blood disorder Cooley's Anemia. His freelance work has ranged from reviewing moves and CDs to creating entertainment-related stories about baldness, to creating text for comic strips. Craig looks forward to having a dialogue with you about senior care and issues of concern.

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