Looking for the fountain of youth? Just look for your sneakers. Then lace them up and head outside. It turns out that a leisurely stroll isn’t just good for your body. It’s good for your brain, too.
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In a University of Illinois study, researchers followed 65 adults, ranging in age from 55 to 80. There weren’t any star athletes in the group. In fact, some of them couldn’t walk the length of a football field at first.
But they started small — a 40-minute stroll, three times a week, for six months — and they kept on going.
As you’d expect, that half a year of walking made the participants feel a little fitter and a little faster. But there were some big surprises, too. Those easy strolls even built up their brain connectivity.
That’s important, because one of the signs of aging is a loss of coordination between regions of the brain, like the ones that control multitasking, decision-making and problem-solving. But after just six months of walking, participants experienced big improvements in connectivity.
Their memories were sharper and their attention was more focused — in other words, they’d taken years off their brains.
For more great (and practical) ways to improve your thinking powers, activate your access to AARP Staying Sharp today! It’s easy to enroll and is included with your AARP membership.