Happy and healthy aging means being able to do what you enjoy for as long as you can, both physically and mentally.
One of the largest and longest-running studies of its kind to date has shown there is something you already do everyday that can ensure you stay young inside and out. The lead author of the study, Dr. Marco Pahor, the director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida in Gainesville said, “For the first time, we have directly shown that exercise can effectively lessen or prevent the development of physical disability in a population of extremely vulnerable elderly people.”
And the exercise recommended most for helping people ward off physical disability and memory loss? Walking!
This is why everyone should be walking daily.
Mobility, the ability to walk without assistance, is a major consideration when determining quality of life. Once someone loses mobility, rates of morbidity, disability, and mortality increase so it is imperative to maintain mobility. Walking regularly maintains strong bones, joints and a healthy weight, meaning your mobility basics are tuned up.
One recent study directly linked the makeup of your brain to walking! “Participants who walked at least 72 blocks per week, or between 6 and 9 miles, had more gray matter volume in their brains nine years after the start of the study than people who didn’t walk as much.” *** The researchers were definitive in their writings “based on our results, we can conclude that there is a relation between the amount of walking earlier in life and brain volume in later adulthood and that greater volume of tissue related to walking is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment”
Walking gets your heart rate up, which improves a variety of cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress. Is that enough benefit to get you walking daily?
Walking is social. Mildred Johnston, 82, a retired office worker in Gainesville, a participant in the brain matter study, shared her walking experience, “Exercising has changed my whole aspect on what aging means. It’s not about how much help you need from other people now. It’s more about what I can do for myself.” The gossip in her walking group keeps her young mentally too. That is, if you have time for gossip after bragging about your lowered risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Every step you take makes a difference, it doesn’t have to be strenuous to make an impact. Start small and set goals. Try parking one extra row from the store next time, two the next. Keep it up and soon you will be better protected against dementia, peripheral artery disease, depression, colon cancer and even erectile dysfunction.
Where are some good places to take a walk?
There are lots of ways to get some steps in. You can walk on or around your block, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk in place or on a treadmill while watching a program, or even do laps around the mall in the winter. BUT IT IS FALL AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL OUT! So if you are able and it is safe for you to do so, check out some of these great nature walks in our neck of the woods!
IF you find yourself near Old Bethpage/Farmingdale, Check out the old restoration village!
They have a trail around the park! You can also visit the old houses, farms, they have special seasonal events and old-timey baseball games to watch!
Important Links For Additional Information as well as to articles & resources used for this post:
Well. The New York Times