A Journey Back To Whole



Friday, February 11, 2011

Walk the Dog

Hot off the web, while we tighten our buttocks, so too our brains grow.  The New York Times reported  findings from a recent University of Pittsburg study on fitness and how it affects brain function as we age. Sounds pretty boring ? I know, but what they discovered might just surprise you. In fact, if  you are a over the age of 49, this bit of information might actually motivate you to exercise 3 times a week.

I do not want to bore you with statistics, they can be read in the Times, so I will just give you a general synopsis.  120 Sedentary men and women, average age 60, were divided into 2 groups. The first walked around a track. The second did less aerobic exercise including yoga and light resistance training. They both worked up to 40 minutes, three times a week.

After one year all parties were in much better physical condition. The surprise came when the brainscan results were examined. The walkers brain volume, in the hippocampus area had actually increased, while the  less aerobic groups' decreased. So what does that mean you ask? The hippocampus is the part of our brain that controls memory function. This small , but enlightening bit of  knowledge demands further study, both in the lab, and out in the real world. Let me explain.

Is it too much to think, if  all Americans were armed with this minor tidbit, that our rate of obesity might actually decrease? If, say, Joe Schmo, average junk food eater, super sized drink drinker, was to get wind of this , might he actually,take a walk, get smarter, and break his unhealthy habits? A larger brain could could be a very motivating factor.

If I walk my dog 2 times a day, I might be wiser by the end of a month and perhaps brilliant by the end of the century. I might even be able to remember to pick up my drycleaning.  Gotta go! My dog awaits.

3 comments:

Laura Waddell said...

Jen, I walk all 4 of my dogs just about every day, it's not only good for me, but a necessity for them!

thelogofiles said...

I feel smarter already. I don't have dogs but I am sure kids will suffice :)
I wonder if running after them in the house counts? Sometimes I do full house-runs. By the time I finish finding all the "hiding" guys it could even be a mile.
They should do a study on dog walkers tho- it may be interesting.

Jeff said...

I've found walking one of the most important activities for clearing out the mind's cobwebs. (Different metaphor: it's like shaking up the mental etch-a-sketch...it creates a clean work surface). My problem here in New York has been all the snow and gloom. Makes it impossible to walk. I kind of wish I lived in a warmer climate.