Saturday, February 4, 2012

Walk to Exercise Your Memory Muscle

Feature Entry: Walk to Exercise Your Memory Muscle

Memory is a muscle? Yep, it’s true; moreover, like all muscles it can be improved by walking. According to neuroscientists at the University of California we can reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 25 percent by increasing physical activity from “low” to “moderate.” Oh, a another name for the memory muscle is .... your brain.

Other scientists agree. According to Art Kramer, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois, "If you do only one thing to keep your brain young, exercise." His findings support the theory that “Higher exercise levels can reduce dementia risk by 30 to 40 percent compared with low activity levels, and physically active people tend to maintain better cognition and memory than inactive people. They also have substantially lower rates of different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.”

Here is how it seems to work. Walking helps your hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in memory formation. As you age, your hippocampus shrinks, leading to memory loss. Walking has been shown to reverse this process.

How much walking is needed for the prescription to work? Eric Larson, M.D., executive director of Group Health Research Institute in Seattle recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate activity. States Larson, "In our research as little as 15 minutes of regular exercise three times per week helped maintain the brain."

To see more tips for maintaining a healthy ageless brain check Beth Howard’s excellent article in the Feb/March 2012 issue of AARP The Magazine.

Money Walker

Today's Weight = 177.0 lbs.

Today's Money Find = $.81

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Free Range Walking

Free Range Walking

Today’s walk involved honoring a promise to one of my friends from the “brotherhood of the street.” I had promised to take him a “ground score.” We want say what, only that it had a $6.00 value, it was legal, and he needed it. Some information in the brotherhood is proprietary.

He sometimes stays with family in an address about two miles from the MoneyWalker’s house. The walk to his house sounded like a good diversion, so off I went without concern for my usual monetary hot spots; finding loose change was not a priority.

After depositing my gift, left subtly on his front porch, I found myself in an urban conclave. Streets were in disrepair and hardly used. Several houses have been vacant since Katrina and untouched. The curbs were littered with trash. In short,there was an apparent disregard for typical city norms.

And then, there they were, a full flock of chickens coming from a large grassy yard and then spread far up curbs along the street. There must have been 30 birds including two or three baby chickens. They were forging along the deserted street looking for bugs and grasshoppers without regard for anything but their next score. What was striking was their obvious level of contentment, and their beauty. Someone had decided to allow the chickens to freely follow their bliss, to go where nature leads. And there was a rooster or two that seemed to be standing guard. You could see them periodically glancing upward, perhaps looking for hawks or owls, or maybe an unleashed dog.

The urban chickens provided a brief epiphany. It reminded me that my highly purposeful walking episodes need not be so scripted; that a specific narrative need not be followed. On this walk, much like the free range chickens, I had been free to go where nature lead, to follow my bliss. It felt good. I could see now that my walks had become too predicable, that my walking narrative had become too narrow; that I was becoming bored.

So, I am adding "free range walking" to my motivation portfolio. Join me.


Current weight = 175.2 lbs

Money found on current walk = $.82 grubs