The September 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association chronicals a study proving conclusively that walking boosts brain function and has an impact on brain size/health as well.
Previous studies have shown the amazing curative powers of walking however this is the one of many studies to show the correlation between walking and cognitive function.
Walking has been shown to prevent the onset of dementia and lessens its effects as people age. Additionally it has been shown to be more effective than commonly prescribed medications for mild forms of depression.
Walking has also been shown to be a deterrant to contracting Alzheimer's. The strong correlation between obesity and Alzherimer's has caused many in the medical community to now refer to Alzheimer's as Type 3 Diabetes. It is clear that walking prevents the development of these diseases by assisting in maintaining the health of the individual.
Scientists also suspect that walking boosts brain functions on a variety of levels by increasing blood flow and the production of mood enhancing compounds such as Serotonin.
Studies out of the University of Illinois proved that walking may increase previously sedentary adult's memory and focus by as much as 15% in a 6 month period. The study led by Dr. Art Kramer and doctoral student Michelle Voss involved 65 sedentary individuals aged 59-80 divided into 3 groups and monitored over a 12 month period: walkers, stretchers, toners. At the end of the study they measured the impact on brain connectivity using MRI and found a significant improvement in the walking group and no positive results among study participants that engaged in stretching or toning exercises alone.
Professionals searching for an edge in maintaining focus and energy should seriously consider walking throughout the day and leaving chairs for their competitors. Higher connectivity, enhanced by walking, improves the brains ability to undertake executive tasks.
“The higher the connectivity, the better the performance on some of these cognitive tasks, especially the ones we call executive control tasks – things like planning, scheduling, dealing with ambiguity, working memory and multitasking,” Dr. Kramer related in an online interview for the university. "These are the very skills that tend to decline with aging," he related.
Walking also stimulates the production of small blood vessels in the brain, critical for proper function and growth. One study showed as much as a 43% increase in a 12 month period among test subjects engaged in a regular walking program.
Treadmill desks allow an employee to walk the entire time they are at work, enhancing not only brain function but mood levels and productivity as well. The results are in. If you want to stay healthy and mentally sharp employees need to walk much more than their current environment allows.