Walking has been considered to be one of the best remedies to treat many health conditions since ages. People who are short of time for a proper workout session are advised to engage at least in some kind of physical activity, like walking. According to health experts, walking regularly not only benefit the body but, it can also be healthy for mind.
To add to the health benefits of walking, a recent study that was conducted at the University of Kansas showed that walking regularly can prevent memory loss in older adults. The study also showed that the living area also has an effect on mental health.
The assistant professor of clinical psychology, University of Kansas Amber Watts said "features of a neighbourhood that encourage walking for transportation require having someplace worth walking to, like neighbours' houses, stores and parks".
Making use of geographic information systems the researchers analyzed the walkability. Watts said "GIS data can tell us about roads, sidewalks, elevation, terrain, distances between locations and a variety of other pieces of information".
The team of researchers examined 25 people with Alzheimer’s disease and 39 older adults without cognitive impairment. People who were in a habit of walking regularly had better health results in term of maintaining a healthy body-mass index, blood pressure levels and better memory.
The researchers also studied the relationship between the residential locality and the cognitive performance of the participants. The research continued over a period of two years factoring in issues like age, gender, education and wealth which may have an impact on people’s cognitive scores independently of neighbourhood characteristics. It was found that complex layouts might play a crucial role in keeping cognition sharp.
According to Watts "there seems to be a component of a person's mental representation of the spatial environment, for example, the ability to picture the streets like a mental map. Complex environments may require more complex mental processes to navigate. Our findings suggest that people with neighbourhoods that require more mental complexity actually experience less decline in their mental functioning over time".
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News source: cooks.ndtv.com
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