Walking Boosts Your Brain Function - And So Do Standing Desks!
A moderate-intensity walking regimen may reduce symptoms of mild cognitive impairment that are linked to poor blood vessel health in the brain, a small study suggests.
Participants with vascular dementia who walked three hours per week for six months had improved reaction times and other signs of improved brain function, the Canadian team reports in British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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 after Alzheimer's disease.
'It is well established that regular aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health,' the study's senior author Teresa Liu-Ambrose told Reuters Health. More specifically, it reduces one's risk of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes (type II), and high cholesterol. These chronic conditions have a negative impact on the brain - likely through compromised blood flow to the brain.'
Before the exercise program began and at the end of six weeks, all the participants also had functional MRI brain scans and other tests that measured neural activity and cognitive ability.
People in the aerobic training group had significant improvements in their reaction times on the cognitive tests, and showed changes in their brain activity that made them resemble healthy brains more. The comparison group showed no changes.
Overall, exercise appears to be a promising strategy for promoting cognitive health in older adults, Liu-Ambrose said.
Every day active is key to our health. We're always talking about walking, stair climbing and of course sitting less and standing more.
Let's get the UK fitter and healthier. Why not take a walk to your office and then spend time at a standing desk!