Walking increased in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. During the lockdown, there was little else to do so the government’s medical advisers urged the immobilised population to go for daily walks.
A survey conducted by King’s College in the UK indicates that 38% of people that took up walking during the pandemic plan to continue. That would be a wise decision – especially for the ageing population.
Brisk walking has been linked with a lower risk of developing dementia as we age. Scientists found that the hippocampus – a gland in the brain associated with memory recall – shrinks as we get older. A small hippocampus is a characteristic found in patients with dementia.
On the flip side, aerobic exercise also gives your hippocampus a workout and delays the shrinking process. Moderate forms of physical exercise like brisk walking could even reverse shrinking and improve memory.
Researchers found that brisk walking for 15-minutes three times a week can help to prevent the decline in memory loss.
Revisit Old Neighbourhoods
Research shows that spaces act as thresholds to memories and levels of the unconscious that have sunk beneath the surface of retrievable memory.
Jo Adetunji, the editor of The Conversation, says “walking unlocks memories.” Revisiting old haunts and the streets you used to walk as a child rescues stories of the past and fuels conversation by reminiscing how different places looked in a former time.
Researchers of Neuroscience at MIT discovered that returning to your childhood home or neighbourhood awakens a group of neutrons called “engram cells” that decode memories through specific patterns of connection.
Although property development may have changed the landscape, walking around old neighbourhoods and other places you used to hang out in your youth can trigger a memory. It’s small details that have the biggest impact.
The reason for that is that the electrical properties in the engram cells play a critical role in learning and habit forming. Moreover, when they become excitable, the cells store memories to alert individuals of places they have been that represented danger and which were safe.
Revisiting old neighbourhoods with friends and family to reminisce about the ‘good ole days’ could help middle-aged and retired individuals to improve memory recall as they enter their twilight years.
Download the Sweatcoin App
Sweatcoin promotes technology for good. We designed an app you can download on your mobile phone to encourage people to go out for a walk more often.
The app counts the number of steps you take in a day and converts them into a digital currency you can use you to purchase merchandise from over 300 merchants. Download the sweatcoin app today and look out for the latest deals offered by our partners.
It pays to walk.