A new research has demonstrated that older adults can ward off cognitive decline if they live in a neighbourhood that promotes walking as a regular habit.
The study conducted at University of Kansas (US) showed that neighbourhoods that inspire walking for leisure are also full of pleasant things to look at, like walking trails or shade provided by trees. Also, such neighbourhoods should make people feel secure on foot.
Amber Watts, assistant professor of clinical psychology, said that people could walk either to get somewhere or for leisure.
Watts continued that depending on which type of walking one was interested in, a neighbourhood might have different characteristics and features of a neighbourhood that encouraged walking for transportation required having someplace worth walking to, like neighbours’ houses, stores and parks. Watts asserted that easy-to-walk communities resulted in better outcomes both for physical health such as lower body mass and blood pressure and cognition (such as better memory) in the 25 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 39 older adults without cognitive impairment she tracked.
Watts added that cognitive testing of the research subjects fell into three categories i.e. attention, or mentally rearranging patterns of letters and numbers, verbal memory, or recalling words immediately and after a delay and mental status, a screening test for symptoms of dementia.