I’ve previously blogged about the value of exercise. Just walking. Thirty minutes a day.
Remember, you have 23 1/2 hours left in the day to sleep, eat, sit on your butt, and stare at a screen. Just that 30 minutes a day makes big differences in your physical and mental health.
Now: research suggests that walking improves memory, and lessens the likelihood of dementia. All this, and the researchers only looked at people walking for periods of forty-five minutes, three times a week.
The part of the brain controlling memory, the hippocampus, became larger in a single year when measured before and after in 60 volunteers in the “intervention,” (i.e. walking) group.
I came across this very reasonable list of healthy behaviors and thought I’d post them here for your enjoyment and commitment to be healthy in 2013. They come from a Scottish GP named Margaret McCartney, who writes frequently about common sense medical care on her blog, for the British Medical Journal, and for the Manchester Guardian. She’s also the author of the excellent book The Patient Paradox, which is unfortunately not in print in the U.S. (but you can order it from Amazon UK among other places):
Don’t drink excessively, and not every day.
Eat a wide variety of foods, mainly fruits and vegetables.
Exercise daily, and if you can, make it sociable.
Have a job you like.
See people and do things you enjoy.
Stay reasonably trim.
And don’t be poor.
That last one is not meant to be cheeky–it simply refers to the fact that in terms of health outcomes, those at the low end of the income scale are proportionately more likely to die sooner than the rest of us.
And by popular demand, I’m again embedding the popular video “23 1/2 hours” below; it’s another evidence-based guide to being healthier in a simple fashion. It really comes down to moving our bodies–and the data shows that the benefits of SOME moving are much greater than more vigorous moving in those who already exercise. Nevertheless, if you’re already exercising, work on eating less, and making what you eat more fruits and vegetables. The point is simple–walk a minimum of 30 minutes per day. Do it with someone. Park farther away when you drive places. It won’t hurt you.