Last night I had the great pleasure and privilege of listening to Norman Doidge talk about his latest book, The Brain’s Way of Healing at the beautiful Adelaide Town Hall.
I was especially interested in his scientific rationale for the value of walking, and yes, surprise surprise, even people with dementia should be walking.
Norman discussed five things we can all do to delay neurodegenerative decline, although they do have a few side effects, but things that we can do for that are being supported with validated research now.
They include physical exercise and more specifically fast walking, improving our diet and general nutrition, and brain training exercises (I have forgotten the other two things… once I’ve waded through his book I’ll write this up in more detail.
The ‘side effects’ for these lifestyle changes, are that we reduce our chance of getting diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses by over 50%.
Wow, if there was a ‘wonder drug/ to do this, it would be all over the news, but something as simple as walking and healthy eating… too easy (actually, too hard for too many of us).
So, if you are not already doing so, start walking, and increase it to fast walking, today.
If you work in aged care, and really want to support your residents well, and improve their QoL, start them walking today. If there are no funds to support this, find volunteers. My case study and blog on walking as an intervention for wandering is relevant to this conversation today as well. the DPS News also reported on walking as a falls prevention activity, which you can read about here. There is no longer a valid excuse not to.
Oh, and getting rid of the negative label wandering, will help with this too. Walking is normal, extremely good for us, improves our physical and mental health, and almost everyone wants to do it.
Do get a copy of both of Norman Doidge’s books, and read them. You will be enlightened, I can virtually guarantee it.