Regular walks are good not only to keep fit but also to keep off brain degeneration in older adults, claims a new study.
The study by the University of Kansas said that the neighbourhood area also leaves a positive effect on our mental health.
"Features of a neighbourhood that encourage walking for transportation require having someplace worth walking to, like neighbours' houses, stores and parks," said Amber Watts, assistant professor of clinical psychology, University of Kansas.
Easy-to-walk communities help in better cognition, along with lowering blood pressure and body mass index.
"People can walk either to get somewhere or for leisure," said Watts. The study followed 25 people with mild Alzheimer's disease and 39 older adults with no signs of cognitive degeneration.
The study was a two-year process carried and it took into consideration certain factors such as age, gender, education and wealth that might affect people's cognitive abilities independently of neighbourhood characteristics.
The study was presented at the Gerontological Society of America's annual meeting in Washington, DC.
"Complex environments may require more complex mental processes to navigate. Our findings suggest that people with neighbourhoods that require more mental complexity actually experience less decline in their mental functioning over time," Watts said.
He also added that when the environment poses challenges within a person's ability, it keeps the bodies and minds sharp.