~ Bob DeMarco, Founder of AlzheimersReadingRoom.com
Valentine’s Day is just one of many days that I feel grateful for loving and being loved by my husband, Howard. Sharing gestures and/or words of love with spouses, significant others, relatives, and friends helps us feel good physically and mentally—connected to and cared for by other human beings.
But Howard has another love besides me. He loves the outdoors—walking, hiking and biking are three of his favorite pastimes. And he always comes home from his outings with a story or two to share with me. Earlier this week he told me about his conversation with Clark, a man he met on a hiking trail at the point where the trail splits in two directions. The new acquaintances talked a bit, and then discussed which option to choose—one trail headed east before looping back west, and the other trail headed south before rejoining the same west-bound trail.
Soon the men made their choices and walked their separate ways—Howard heading east and Clark heading south. Who knows? Maybe their paths will cross on the trails again, someday. But either way, Clark gave Howard an interesting nugget of information.
Clark told my husband that he hikes because he heard that walking helps stave off Alzheimer’s disease. Howard said that Clark appeared to be older than him, maybe in his 70s, and in good shape.
Well, Clark’s comment got me to thinking: Is there a connection between Alzheimer’s and walking? And if so, is my husband’s love of walking and hiking (and even biking) not only a source of enjoyment for him, but also a way for him to reduce the potential for Alzheimer’s?
I turned to my favorite tool when I have a question – Google Search. I entered “Alzheimer’s and Walking” into the search window, hit enter, and the first item returned was an article titled “Walking May Cut Alzheimer’s Risk.” Eureka! Published in 2010, this article summarized a research study that links walking with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Cyrus Raji, PhD and a radiologist at the University of Pittsburgh, together with his colleagues, analyzed the relationship between walking and brain structure in 426 people—299 cognitively healthy adults, 83 adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 44 adults with Alzheimer’s. Their research led the team to conclude that walking 6 miles a week (an average of ¾ of a mile a day) instead of being sedentary was associated with a 50% reduction in Alzheimer’s risk over 13 years for cognitively normal adults, and slowed the brain degeneration and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s among people who already have MCI.
While there are no known cures for Alzheimer’s, research has shown that there are many factors that might help prevent Alzheimer’s, including diet and lifestyle. The latter would encompass a wide range of activities—exercise, which would include my husband’s three favorites, as well as aerobics, sports, and many others; intellectual activities, such as completing crossword puzzles or Sudoku, playing board games, or reading; and regular social interaction.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of exercise—overheating and sweating have never appealed to me— but I do love to read, work crossword puzzles, and socialize with friends and family. So I’m hopeful that those activities will help reduce my risk of Alzheimer’s.
But I have another tool in my personal healthcare toolkit: Bio-Touch. As I’ve written in past blogs, research shows that by using a light-touch on points on the body that correspond with specific health conditions, Bio-Touch significantly reduces stress and pain levels, and alleviates symptoms of disease. And it’s an effective adjunct to traditional medical protocols as part of an integrative approach to healthcare. The Bio-Touch website lists over 50 health conditions that can be positively addressed with Bio-Touch, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. For symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, light touch is recommended on points of the head, neck, back and chest, which seems to enhance the body’s own healing ability.
I’m so happy that Howard enjoys the social and physical aspects of hiking, which may prevent Alzheimer’s in his future. But just to be on the safe side, I’m also going to use Bio-Touch on my husband, and show him how to use it on me. It’s a loving touch to share with another for the benefit of both. And to paraphrase Bob DeMarco’s quote, there is no substitute for the love of Bio-Touch!