A study from the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, examined the impact of regular walking on people with vascular cognitive impairment, the second-most common form of dementia. The ailment occurs when blood vessels become damaged by cardiovascular disease, impeding good blood circulation and making the brain work harder.
The researchers scanned the brains and conducted computerized decision-making and attention tests on 38 people with mild, early forms of vascular cognitive impairment. Half of the subjects were asked to participate in supervised, one-hour walking sessions three times per week for a six-month period. The remaining subjects did not walk.
After six months, the walking group showed improvements in both blood pressure and brain function, with their brains requiring less effort during the decision-making and attention tests.