Clear That Brain Fog with This Easy Exercise

Happy senior couple holding hands and walking in park

Medically reviewed in December 2021

It's simple, requires no equipment, and is easy on your joints. And new research shows it helps banish brain fog, too. It's walking.

In a study of people age 55 to 80, engaging in one of the world's oldest and simplest forms of exercise helped improve signaling communication in the brains of the study participants.

Steps Away from a Younger Brain
As we get older, communication pathways within the brain begin to bog down. But in the study, the brains of couch-potato adults who enrolled in a year-long walking program showed significant improvement in cognitive functioning and communication signaling at the end of the study period. Specifically, communication between what's known as the default mode network and the frontal executive network in the brain was stronger -- great news since these two important networks tend to take a hit as we get older.

Toning or Two-Stepping?
The problem of sliding cognitive powers may be worse for people who don't do any cardio. Another group of study participants did stretching and toning exercises for a year instead of walking, but their MRIs and cognitive skills tests didn't show quite the same improvement as the walkers' did. Any brain boost they experienced was chalked up as a result of learning and mastering a new exercise. Still, for a variety of other health reasons, you'll want to have both cardio and strength training on the fitness menu. (Need some tips on making exercise happen every day? Try these seven tips to bust even your most compelling excuses.)

No time to walk? Here are some sneaky strategies for finding more minutes to pound the pavement.

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