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Walking Wards Off Memory Loss

I confess when I looked at the thermometer this morning and saw -2 and I threw in the towel on taking my walk today.  That said, after reading this new research I will undoubtedly start up again soon, but I’m hoping for 10 degrees please!

What is so compelling you ask? Memories I say. According to a new study done at the University of Pittsburgh, going for a walk could make your brain grow. Researchers believe they have found proof that a brisk walk 3 times a week can increase the size of your hippocampus which is where your brain stores its information. The hippocampus is also one of the first areas of the brain ravaged during Alzheimer’s disease.

Study participants were men and women aged between 55 and 80. Each of the 120 was asked to go for a 40-minute energetic walk three times a week.

In just one year the brains of these volunteers actually showed around 2% growth in their brains versus the normal expectation of your brain shrinking as you age.

Scientists were quoted as saying ‘that this growth took up to two years off the brain’s age – a change they said marked an ‘enormous’ improvement. In contrast a separate group of volunteers who were asked only to stretch for a year had the expected shrinkage of approximately 1.5%

Lead researcher Dr Kirk Erickson, from the University of Pittsburgh, said: ‘You don’t need highly vigorous physical activity to see these effects. This may sound like it is a modest amount but it’s like reversing the age clock by a couple of years.’

He added: ‘The brain remains modifiable well into late adulthood. Even though brain shrinkage and cognitive decline occurs, it doesn’t seem to be as inevitable as we once thought.

He went on to say that combining physical activity with mental exercise – such as solving puzzles – is also beneficial.

The upshot of their research is whatever it is find something enjoyable to do and get moving!

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