One of the best things you could do to preserve your mental health and prevent dementia is simply going for a walk. This fundamental exercise can give you both physical and mental health benefits, much more than anyone thought possible.
As one of the easiest exercises you can do, going for a 15-minute walk should be something on your list of things to do for your health.
What Walking Does For Your Brain
Walking is a great exercise, helping the body stay healthy. It can reduce cardiovascular risk and lower blood sugars, both of which are potential risk factors for dementia.
But there's another interesting connection between walking in dementia.
In several larger studies, how a person walks determines dementia risk and progression. Walking was a great predictor of dementia, showing people who walked slowly had a three and a half times greater risk of dementia.
For people already experiencing memory decline, the results are even more startling:
"Participants with dual decline had 5.2 to 11.7 times higher risk of developing dementia, compared with usual agers."
People with higher risks included people with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Of all the factors that could change this risk, going for a daily walk is one of the top things to do.
Multiple studies show that for people with dementia and advanced Alzheimer's, walking can reduce the decline and improve quality of life.
Numerous other studies show that prevention includes daily walking exercise. People at risk for dementia showed their cognition, functional capacity, social interaction, and overall quality of life improved with daily walking exercise.
Other studies show that physical activity that includes exercise classes and stretching has similar effects.
Basically, the studies show getting up and moving helps the body be healthier and the mind stay sharper. And because walking is one of the easiest exercises to begin doing right away, the only real thing stopping you is you.
How To Get Started Walking – Or Up Your Game!
Starting a walking program seems simple. You just go for a walk, right?
Let's look at a couple of factors, particularly if you're a little bit older or need to build up your strength.
Safety – No matter where you go walking, you should be sure that you will be safe. This means from other people and vehicles. Ideally, you could walk around your local community. But, if that's not an option, most schools have open hours where the public can use the outdoor track for walking. Most malls and large shopping spaces also provide safe spaces to go walking.
Another aspect of safety is letting your loved ones know where you are. This is especially important if you already have memory issues. Getting lost and forgetting the way home is prevalent amongst people with memory decline or Alzheimer's.
Consistency – If you're walking outside, at some point it is going to rain. This could keep you in the house, breaking your habit of walking regularly. If you're used to walking around outside, having a location indoors where you can walk is a great way to make sure you keep your schedule.
Stamina - When you start walking, start slowly and work your way up. Following a regiment of 15-minutes every day is better than trying to get in an hour twice a week. A consistent habit is more important than an endurance session.
As you get older, exercise takes on a greater and greater importance in your life. It can help ward off physical diseases and can help your mind stay sharp. Just taking a few minutes out of your day for a walk can lower your risk of so many problems. We hope you givethis try, and keep your memory as long as possible.