Psychology Today, Sept-Oct 2001 v34 i5 p30(1)
Walk to remember: travel by foot to keep the mind in motion. (Memory). (Brief Article) Aminda Jacobs.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2001 Sussex Publishers, Inc.
Exercise is key in maintaining a young body. And new research suggests that walking for exercise is also related to keeping a young mind.
In a University of California at San Francisco study, Kristine Yaffe, M.D., an assistant psychology and neurology professor, first measured the cognitive abilities of nearly 6,000 women ages 65 or older. She then kept track of the women’s physical activity for six to eight years by recording the number of miles they walked each week as well as the num ber of calories they burned.
Testing their cognitive abilities again, Yaffe discovered that of the participants who walked the least, 24 percent showed a significant decline in their test scores. But only 17 percent of the most active women had significantly lower test scores.
Presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting, the study’s findings suggest that it isn’t necessary to engage in vigorous workouts to reap the mental benefits of exercise. In fact, Yaffe also found a “dose relationship” between walking and maintaining cognitive ability, meaning that more exercise is great, but even a little makes a difference.
I wonder if perhaps there aren’t another factor involved here. Other than the positive physiological effects of exercise, what of the cognitive affects. On my walks, either to work or just around the block, I have lots of thoughts travel across my mental landscape. Thinking, while a cognitive function, increases cognitive agility. Could there be cross contaminants in the study? I’d like to look at the design of it.