Walking very rarely receives a title on the cover of the fitness and health magazines we often read. We tend to forget how important walking is. We have read about the ‘feel-good” hormones, stress relieving abilities, and increased levels of oxygen as advantages of walking and staying active, but a recent study illustrates an actual increase in brain size as another benefit.
Yes, you read that right…your brain increases in size, meaning more connections, as a result of walking. The researchers had 60 inactive adults between the ages of 60-80 walking for 40 minutes, three times a week. It revealed that the hippocampus region of the brain had increased in size by 2% within a year.
The hippocampus is located close to the center of the brain, and its functions include storage of long-term memory, which involves all past knowledge and experiences. Also, these participants performed better at their memory tests compared to those that were taken originally.
This research not only helps to improve their physical health but also fight diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Whether our brains shrink as we age is still a debate, but this was a breakthrough in science, which proved that we could modify the size of the brain by physical aerobic exercise.
Physical activity is not only important in adults. It’s a vital in development from a when a baby’s born. The international parenting association sums it up so well, so we quote “Because the body and brain work together, a child who is on a physical development program will have greater brain capacity than a child who is not.”
Look out for our next article on how technology interferes in developing your child’s brain to it’s maximum capacity.
Conclusively, here’s the fantastic news about walking- it requires no equipment and it’s something everyone of any age can do!
THIS ARTICLE IS FEATURED BY: www.ncbi.mlm.nih.gov
By: Dr. Kirk I. Erickson
The aerobic exercise-memory study appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jan. 31, 2010.