Alzheimer’s Insights: Walking and Brain Health

Published 11:12 am Saturday, October 19, 2019

One health fact that everyone should know by now is that walking is good for you.  Equipment is minimal – just comfortable shoes. There are no gym fees, no heavyweights, and you can certainly go at your own pace.  Listen to music, think, let your dog enjoy the great outdoors with you. Right now as fall weather kind of/sort of/almost/maybe arrives in Texas, it’s a great time to take a walk around the neighborhood!

A daily walk is not only good for your health, your waistline and your well-being – but also for your brain.

A recent study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital saw brain health benefits in people who exercised modestly but saw the highest results in those who walked 8,900 steps per day. That’s just under the 10,000 step goal many people aim for, and amounts to walking roughly 4.5 miles daily.

The Massachusetts study is among the first to prove the protective effects of exercise on the brain in people with high levels of beta-amyloid plaques but no symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other studies have previously shown that physical activity – even mild physical activity such as walking – is associated with a decreased risk of cognitive impairment.   Researchers have found that inactive, but otherwise healthy, seniors who begin an exercise program experience significantly improved cognitive function.

Studies most consistently demonstrate that exercise must be regular and tend toward the more vigorous side.

In people with mild cognitive impairment, walking just 5 miles a week reduced brain atrophy and cognitive decline by more than 50%.

So lace up your shoes, put the dog on a leash, and hit the pavement!  Your brain will thank you for it!

If you have questions, call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900 for more information.


The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. For more information, visit or call the 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.


Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.  He can be reached at