Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Walk to Remember

Here's some good news for walkers, and by extension for runners too:

Regular walking can modestly expand the hippocampus, a part of the brain important to the formation of memories. The hippocampus, something many of us have not thought much about, begins to atrophy around the age of 55 or 60, but the New York Times reported this week that in a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that moderate walking can help reverse the atrophy, thereby improving memory function.

A more in-depth look at the study was reported by the U.S. Department of Health Human Services.

Question: I've been walking quite a bit. Why do I still have trouble finding my keys? Maybe it would be worse and without the walking and running I'd never find them.

In hopes of being able to run without pain in my knees and heels, today I got another new pair sneakers at a runner's store in Northampton. They are New Balance 1064, and they fit Ken Holtz's criteria: single layer, firm insole. I'm going to try them on a treadmill before I take them outside.

The woman who sold them to me, clearly a runner who knew what she was talking about, said that in addition to stretching for my plantar fasciitis, I should roll my feet on something smaller and harder than the tennis ball I've been using. She said maybe use a golf ball or a ball that they sell which is hard and has little spiky things on it.

They were out of stock, and I don't have a golf ball, so I used a mini tennis ball with a smiley face on it that Donna gave me in 2003 when I had leukemia for the first time. I keep it on my dresser with a collection of other special things.

I've used it for this purpose before, and it looks a little worse for wear, but it kept smiling at me.

The blue and silver running shoes look cool and have a wavy lace that supposedly makes them difficult to come untied. I think I'll try them out tomorrow.


Nelle said...

I hope the new shoes are just what you needed. The information about walking and memory is interesting.

Jonny said...

I've been using a golf ball under my desk for some time(I have no idea how it go there)and I think that it helped m y plantar facaiitis...along with some doofy-looking Clark's walking shoes that have a great inner sole that's arched with a soft heel.

Besides, the curative effect of my golf ball serves a lot more useful purpose than actually playing golf which, as Mark Twain remarked about the sport: "A nice walk spoiled"

pamela perkins said...

Runder Woman -

interesting about memory -- poetic measure is taken in feet, as you know, and, there is the link to memorizing there...

will start walking more -- as to the keys, i have always not remembered where they are, even when we were 17 in school a few years ago...

Happy Valentine's Day again, darling Ronni --

Cheryl said...

Ronnie..find the information interesting regarding walking and memory. Definitely worth a try for someone 60+.
Have not used a golf ball.I preferred a cylinder which was excellent. Rolled it frequently throughout the day as well as massaged ligaments etc in the foot. The stairs were useful; I stretched calf muscles and sole of foot and in no time I was pain free.
It really is a dreadful thing!
Good luck with the changes. Hope you see huge improvements quickly.

Margaret said...

A photo of the cool new running shoes, please!