Three Hours of Walk Weekly Boosts Brain Function and Lowers Dementia Risk

By Lisa Franchi on May 19, 2017

New research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that three hours of moderate-intensity walking regimen per week may reduce symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, and could even stave off dementia. 

Vascular cognitive impairment, or VCI, refers to mildly impaired thinking or more advanced dementia that’s due to the same kinds of blood vessel damage seen with heart disease elsewhere in the body. It is the second most common cause of dementia, next to Alzheimer’s.

For 6 months, the researchers studied the effects of three hours-worth of walking among participants with vascular dementia. One group followed an aerobic training program consisting of three one-hour walking classes each week for six weeks, while the other group continued with their usual care. In addition, both groups were given information about vascular cognitive impairment and tips for eating a healthier diet.

Researchers found that people who went through aerobic training had improved reaction times and other signs of improved brain function.

’It is well established that regular aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health,’ lead author Teresa Liu-Ambrose told Reuter’s Health. ’More specifically, it reduces one’s risk of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes (type II), and high cholesterol,’

Liu-Ambrose is a researcher with the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

According to her, the brain is a highly metabolic organ and it requires good blood flow to deliver the necessary nutrients and oxygen to its tissues to stay healthy. ’It is worth noting that in our study, reduced blood pressure (secondary to exercise) was associated with improved cognitive function,’ she added.

Aerobic exercise may also benefit the brain by increasing growth factors, which are substances made by the body that promote cell growth, differentiation and survival, Liu-Ambrose said.

Liu-Ambrose ’While more research is needed to better understand how it brings about its benefits and what factors may impact the degree of benefit observed, there is minimal negative consequence of exercising,’

Source of this article:

Walking three hours a week can boost your brain function - and even stave off dementia, study claims

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