Another Connection: Walking and Mental Health

On November 29, 2010, a report produced by CNN revealed information about three studies that had been presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. One of the studies showed that “walking may slow cognitive decline in adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as benefiting brains of healthy adults.” The head researcher explained that brain volume is an important indicator in brain health; if the brain volume is decreasing that means that brain cells are dying, if the volume is maintained then brain health is being maintained. The participants reported distance walked in a week and had their brain volume monitored using MRI scans. The study shows that the greater the distance walked, the better the brain’s health is preserved.

Researchers recognize that regular walking is not a cure for devastating illnesses like Alzheimer’s, but it can increase the brains resistance to the disease and slow memory loss over time. The study showed that people who walk about one mile a day can reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 50%. This link to the BBC contains an interview with Dr. Cyrus Raji, the study’s lead researcher where he talks about the important mind/body health connection at play in this correlation. With an aging population and no current cure for Alzheimer’s, simply walking could be a valuable tool to protect not only the physical health of our population, but mental health too.

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15 Responses to Another Connection: Walking and Mental Health

  1. gretchenh12 says:

    I love walking! It’s one of my favorite things EVER! I especially love fall walks or winter walks in the newly fallen snow. Now I have even more of a good reason to go.

  2. rosec2 says:

    I also believe walking isn’t only good in boosting mental health but also other aspects of health. It is about time we all take a time each day to go on a walk in quite places.

  3. wmckenzi says:

    This just makes sense. My parents go for walks frequently and I hope that these benefits follow them as well!

  4. My grandma has alzheimer’s disease and has been living at a rest home for quite some time now. Maybe rest homes should start having a work-out plan for their residents to keep their brain functioning longer, according to this study.

  5. shainask13 says:

    This is very interesting. I know that my father-in-law has early Alzheimer’s and this is great information to lessen and slow the effects.

  6. miller1989 says:

    This is very interesting. It brings me hope that maybe my brain will stay more active longer with me loving to walk and golf… 🙂

  7. Stacey says:

    Why walking? Is it just the benefit of getting some exercise, or is it also the somewhat meditative aspect?

  8. I love walking especially in the moutains. I think it is so beneficially in so many ways.

  9. I love walking especially in the moutains. I think it is so beneficially in so many ways. BYU campus must have taken this into consideration when they put student parking a mile way from campus so students wouldn’t get alzheimers.

  10. jbrittner says:

    I enjoy walking, especially on Sundays. It’s a great family activity.

  11. ashleenelson says:

    This is great to know because walking is such an easy thing you can do… and it improves your health!

  12. There is something about going for a walk that makes me just feel good. I feel more at peace, relaxed, and at the same time, much more energetic.

  13. lromney says:

    I love walking places, but wish I wish winter weather in Utah was more conducive to it. But it always refreshes me!

  14. This is very interesting research. I don’t own a car so I walk everywhere. It makes me glad to see that there are mental health benefits to walking.

  15. willi49 says:

    This correlation is really interesting, and i’m so glad it was found! I love taking walks so now i know I’m not just doing great things for my body, but my mind too! I’ll be sure to take more and more walks now!

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