Posts written by w10bkadmin

Frequent, brisk walks are beneficial for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s

Picture of person walking-feet onlyAccording to a recent study of physical activity as an experimental treatment for dementia, frequent, brisk walks are beneficial for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease because walking bolsters physical abilities and slow memory loss.

The study aimed to investigate how and why exercise helps some people with dementia, but not others. There are 1.1 million Canadians who are directly or indirectly affected by dementia. Globally, the disease affects more than 35 million people, a number that is expected to double within 20 years. There are currently no reliable treatments for the disease.

Past studies which focused on how exercise can prevent Alzheimer’s disease have shown the following:

  • There is a strong correlation between regular exercise and improved memories in healthy elderly people.
  • Physical active older people are less likely than those who are sedentary to develop mild cognitive impairment (a common precursor to Alzheimer’s disease).
  • When compared to sedentary people of the same age, physically fit older people have more volume in their brain’s hippocampus, the portion of the brain most intimately linked to memory function.

For the current study, researchers from the University of Kansas decided to work with people who had been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Because the disease can affect coordination as it progresses, the study initially looked at men and women with early stage Alzheimer. Study participants had to be living at home and be able to safely walk by themselves or perform other types of light exercise.

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Exercise is Medicine® Canada – A global health initiative

Arthritis Broadcast Network, powered by Arthritis Consumer Experts, had the pleasure of interviewing Jonathon Fowles, Chair of the National Advisory Council: Exercise is Medicine® Canada, at the 2017 CRA Annual Scientific Meeting & AHPA Annual Meeting. Watch the interview to learn more about how exercise is medicine for people living with chronic diseases. Fowles is also a Professor at the School of Kinesiology at Acadia University.

If you have any questions for Fowles, please email the production team at:

feedback@jointhealth.org.

About Exercise is Medicine® Canada

Exercise is Medicine® Canada (EIMC) is a movement to encourage a healthy lifestyle among Canadians. EIMC programs are based on abundant evidence that physical activity and exercise reduce the risk of chronic disease and the belief that:

  • Most Canadians can find simple ways to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their daily routines;
  • More should be done to address physical activity and exercise in the healthcare setting; physical activity and exercise should be incorporated as a key health indicator and standard of medical care as a ‘vital sign’; and
  • Certified exercise professionals serve as important resources for Canadians and their healthcare providers

Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients and referring their patients to EIM Credentialied Exercise and Health Fitness Professionals. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity is integral in the prevention and treatments of diseases and should be regularly assessed and “treated” as part of all healthcare. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) is the proud host organization for EIM in Canada.

Picture of houses in suburban neighbourhood

March 21 – Free webinar on creating equitable neighbourhood changes

America Walks is hosting a free webinar on walkability and equitable development changes on Wednesday, March 21st at 1pm Eastern Time,  10am Pacific Time. Join them for the “Advancing Neighborhood Change Through Equity and Inclusion” webinar here.

America Walks is a nonprofit organization in the United States of America that is leading the way in making America a great place to walk.

About the webinar

Walkability is at the cornerstone of creating neighborhoods that are vital and vibrant, allowing all members of a community to enjoy health, social and economic benefits in a variety of forms. In this webinar, we will aim to look at how to protect and promote the identity and culture of a community, while making room for new development and change. We will feature an example of a community lead equitable development plan, will provide a toolkit of approaches used to prevent displacement and make sure that evolving communities remain affordable and diverse, and hear how affordable housing developers have re-oriented their efforts to build whole communities, by supporting small businesses, protecting the culture of a place, and re-asserting the primacy of resident engagement and the importance of listening.

America Walks will share some of their recent work on the issues of gentrification and displacement and hear from three people working with and in communities around the US who are tackling this challenge. Attendees will:

  • Hear about our research into some of the resources, techniques, and current best practices available for advocates working in this area
  • Learn about a toolkit that provides strategies for communities that have been or may be affected by gentrification
  • Explore community projects that are working with these issues on a daily basis

Walkability and Walk10Blocks

The surveys in the Walk10Blocks app include questions on walkability. Data collected from these questions will help users recognize and understand their own physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour and create awareness about neighbourhood resources.

The Walkability Index

The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) School of Population and Public Health have developed a Walkability Index, a resource tool used to measure and visualize walkability. According to the department, walkability is “largely a function of the proximity and connectivity between destinations, or the degree to which we can travel directly between places where we live, work and play.” Different characteristics of walkable neighbourhoods will support different types of transportation method, such as taking public transit or cycling. These measures can capture the nuances of proximity and connectivity as they relate to travel and health outcomes and help inform land use and transportation planning, policy, and investment decisions.

Below is the description of the Walkability Index from UBC’s website:

The WALKABILITY INDEX includes four components that capture differences in the physical environment:

  • Residential density is the number of residential units per acre within a neighbourhood. A higher value indicates that more people live in the area.
  • Commercial density (also called Retail Floor Area Ratio) is the amount of area designated for commercial use within a neighbourhood. A higher value indicates that more businesses, restaurants, retail shops and other commercial uses are located in the area.
  • Land use mix is the degree of mixing of different types of land uses (such as residential, commercial, entertainment, and office development) in a specific area. A higher value indicates a more even distribution of land between the different types of land uses.
  • Street connectivity is measured by the number of street intersections in a neighbourhood. A higher value indicates more intersections and a greater degree of connectivity enabling more direct travel between two points using existing streets and pathways.

These components all play a role in shaping the walkability of our neighbourhoods, separately or in combination. Data from these four components are combined into a composite value of overall walkability to measure the physical aspects of the environment. The standard walkability index for each neighbourhood is expressed as a unitless number. This is useful in relative terms: the higher the number, the more walkable a neighbourhood is based on the indicators used.