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Walkable communities good for your memory

Written by Diane Archer

A recent study from the University of Kansas shows that walking is good for your brain as well as your heart. It doesn’t matter whether you walk for fun or to get to a destination.  Older adults who live in communities that encourage them to walk are less likely to experience memory loss than people who do not. They also are likely to have lower blood pressure.

The key for older adults is to live in a neighborhood where they want to walk and where they feel safe and secure walking. The neighborhood can be in a city or a suburb.  It can have beautiful parks and walking trails. Or, it could have traffic lights that give older adults enough time to cross the street and sidewalks that are smooth. Places to rest also make walking easier for older adults.

Of note, the study also found that complex routes can help with memory and brain function and do not keep older adults from walking.  For this study, the researcher tracked 25 older adults with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 39 with cognitive impairments.

Believe it or not, new research also shows that increasing Social Security income can improve memory for older adults.  And, diet can help with memory as well. The latest research shows that eating more plants can keep your brain healthy and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

And, if you’re interested in knowing which cities are most walkable, answers vary.  The Huffington Post  lists Cambridge, Massachusetts first, Columbia, South Carolina second, and Berkeley California third. Redfin ranks New York City first, San Francisco second and Boston third.

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