Time was that the average human being would go for a brisk walk pretty regularly, for the purpose of fetching water, or firewood, or pursuing a comely potential consort, or escaping from aggressive neighbors wielding spears, or retrieving the newspaper from the lawn. But the internet has changed all that. Now we can achieve all of those things by merely tapping our fingers. And our fingers have never been in finer shape.
But some of us have problems with the rest of our bodies, not to mention our brains, as we’ve gotten accustomed to storing everything we might possibly need to know in “flash” memory and our gray cells are turning black and disintegrating from disuse. Now a study out of the University of Pittsburgh says that taking a brisk forty-minute walk three times weekly can actually increase the size of “brain regions linked to planning and memory,” in people aged 60 to 80. The amount of increase is said to be “actually like reversing the age clock by about one to two years” according to neuroscientist Kirk Erickson.
It is a fairly amazing discovery, this, that moving around briskly every now and then might be a health-boosting thing. But apparently these people believe they have the science to prove it.
Walking, however, is not the easiest thing to do. I just tried it. It hurts, goshdarnit. And it seems to me that the more of this walking business that you engage in, the more you’re going to wear out the soles of your shoes, what with impacting the ground with them, and even the fabric of your pants due to all of that leg movement. Such expenses ought to be made tax-deductible, which sounds like a great idea for the next overnight executive revision of the Affordable Care Act that we awaken to here in the land of the free.
But the real justification for this post is just to issue a reminder that there is nothing better to get one out walking regularly than that four-legged wonder known as a dog. Dogs love to walk, and they love to use their walks to do all kinds of other great things, and those are things we don’t want them doing in our houses. Hence the daily and unavoidable motivation. It doesn’t cost much to bail out a dog from the local pound. And if we already have one but are choosing the lazy route of just opening the back door and sending it out into the yard, we should consider rediscovering the value of actually attaching the leash and going somewhere. You never know what might happen. The exercise involved might even add the brain cells necessary to remember whatever happens. But even if not, at least the dog will be grateful, and the cosmos will therefore be a slightly better place.