A recent research suggests that living in a neighbourhood that encourages walking can arrest cognitive decline in older adults. Walking helps to revitalise the senses and calm the mind, making it an effective exercise for older adults.
Easy-to-walk communities tend to encourage better outcomes for both physical health as well as cognition. In such communities, people can walk either to get to a place or even for leisure. The study involved 25 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 39 older adults without cognitive impairment. The researchers noted that older adults, caregivers, health care professionals, urban planners and architects may be able to benefit from these findings.
Amber Watts, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas in the US said that the features of a neighbourhood that encourages walking for transportation required to have some place worth walking to such as neighbour’s houses, parks and stores. She added that neighbourhoods that encourage people to walk for leisure are also full of pleasant things to look at such as walking trails or shades naturally provided by trees.
Walking helps to lower blood pressure as well as joint pressure, reduce risk of stroke and ensure fitness. Walking, however, also has several mental benefits to offer.
One of the contributors to a stress-free life is walking because it increases chemical norepinephrine inside the brain. The chemical helps in controlling response of the brain to stress, which thereby helps one in dealing with stress better. Walking also helps in releasing endorphins that are releases when one walks and walking thereby improved overall mood. Several studies have also shown that older men who walked more experienced a reduction in their risk of developing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Brisk walking has been said to increase the body’s core temperature. After the temperature of the body drops to normal, it makes one feel relaxed as well as sleepy. Walking, therefore, is a great way to reduce sleep.
Walking also helps in serving as a form of meditation. While walking, you may also try being silent and focus on creating a connection with the body by way of a prayer or breathing.
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