Walk Your Dog to Improve Your Brain

We’re all getting older (this is true even for you 20-year-olds); we wonder whether our brains are sagging as much as our necks? Are you worrying about your brain and feeling your memory is slipping? Do you think you aren’t as mentally sharp as you once were? Concern for our brains does our cross our minds as we baby boomers get older. How many times have you gone into the garage and wondered what you went in there for? How often do you feel you should jot something down so you won’t forget it? Do you wonder whether it is simply that you’re over-worked… stressed…distracted?  Or is it that your brain cells atrophying?

The good news is that it turns out that walking your dog briskly for about half an hour a day might be the very best tonic to keep your brain healthy. [If that seems like too much for you and your pooch, you can start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every few days until you’re doing at least half an  hour.

A study chronicled in the Harvard Medical School Health Review blog concluded that regular exercise changes the brain to improve thinking skills and memory.  The article concluded that most all the research that has been done into brain function has looked at walking, including the latest study.

My sister religiously does the New York Times crossword every day, convinced it might keep her brain sharp.  I know others who play Sudoku to sharpen their mind, and others who read translations of books in other languages simply to make demands of their mental skills.

Myself, I just take Maisie and Wanda Hotchner on long swift walks every day.  I was doing it for them. Now it turns out they’ve been doing me and my brain capacity a huge favor, unbeknownst to any of us!

So get out there with your pooch – shake off the cobwebs, burn up some of the calories and pounds — and your brain will thank you!

—Tracie Hotchner

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photo credit: Andrew Bartram (WarboysSnapper) New York Streets #1 via photopin (license)