Another reason to walk with the Toronto Power Walkers

We don’t need convincing of the physical benefits of aerobic exercise. It’s now accepted that we’re mentally healthier, too, if we get outside regularly, especially in a northern latitude. But did you know that joining a group to get that outdoor exercise can increase the benefits even more?

Harvard researchers have found that people with at least 5 unrelated social ties suffer less cognitive decline as they age. The problem with ensuring those ties is that Boomers, as a generation, are not well connected to their communities. They work a much larger number of hours every week and have longer commutes than previous generations. They get their entertainment from TV, rather than going out. Only about 30% belong to a church or other faith community. When they retire, they lose what Bolles and Nelson call “automatic relationship generators? (school and work relationships.) Staying connected to communities outside of your immediate family requires attention and some effort.

McKinsey research declares that by 2015, 51% of Boomers will live alone due to death and divorce. Only about half of those people will have other close family ties.

Walking with a group like the Toronto Power Walkers can, therefore, have tremendous benefits beyond fitness. Staying engaged in a wider world keeps mental powers strong and interests expansive.

This week, while walking (and breakfasting), I heard about a memoir that sounds very interesting and that I would likely not have heard of otherwise, a recap of a lecture on the connection between nutrition and depression, the concerns associated with being an expert witness in a particular field, and discussion on employability and age. My world was broadened, my cognition was fortified, and my heart, lungs and legs were strengthened.

Thanks, gang!

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