Research uncovers another major benefit from walking

When things get stressful, I take a stroll through the neighborhood with my beagle, Remington. By the time we get back home, I always feel calm and refreshed. (Except when it’s 20 degrees out like it was every day last winter…but that’s another topic.

But now we also know that walking doesn’t just clear your brain…it can actually make it healthier. According to a study published last month in the journal Neurology, people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease who routinely walked for exercise experienced some impressive benefits.

For six months, participants walked three times a week for 45 minutes a pop

According to the researchers, brisk walking improved motor function and mood by 15 percent, attention/response control scores by 15 percent, increased aerobic fitness and gait speed by 7 percent, and lessened fatigue by 11 percent. Participants’ motor function also improved—by 2.8 points on average. (It may not sound like much, but that’s actually a clinically significant improvement for Parkinson’s patients.)

The study authors concluded that people with mild or moderate Parkinson’s who are able to walk unassisted can safely follow the recommended exercise guidelines for healthy adults.

If you need a reminder, those guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week. If that sounds overwhelming, let me break it down for you…150 minutes a week is really just a little over 20 minutes a day. Hardly a major time commitment. But those minutes can add years to your life.

And that’s time well spent.