Walking May Ward Off Alzheimer’s

From the September 22/29, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) comes a study that shows that walking may help prevent mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease. The study looked at 2257 physically capable men aged 71 to 93 years. In this study the amount of walking that these men did was tracked against their mental health over several years.

The study showed that those men who walked less than a quarter-mile a day were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia as men who walked more than two miles daily. University of Virginia biotstatistician Robert Abbott, the lead author concluded, “Findings suggest that walking is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Promoting active lifestyles in physically capable men could help late-life cognitive function.”

In a similar study involving 16,466 female nurses ages 70 to 81, found that even women who walked a leisurely 1 1/2 hours a week did better on tests of mental function than less active women. Jennifer Weuve, a Harvard School of Public Health researcher and author of that study noted, “We were a bit surprised that something so modest as walking would be associated with apparent cognitive benefits.”