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Want Bigger Brains? Walk

Going for a walk just might help you lose a pant size, while increasing your brain size.

An older couple takes a walk. They know you can improve memory with walking and you can walk to increase brain size.

Medically reviewed in January 2020

Updated on March 1, 2021

True, there's no home-gym equipment designed to build up your brain muscle. But a simple walk just might increase your brain size. 

A study shows that regular cardiovascular exercise, like walking, is good for your brain because it can enlarge the hippocampus—a brain structure vital to memory function. 

Fit body, better memory 
As we age, our brains tend to shrink, and our memory can wither in the process. But a study shows that an aerobically fit person has a larger hippocampus and performs better on spatial memory tests than a less fit subject. In the study, being more fit did not slow the rate of hippocampal shrinkage once it began, but it meant that people generally had more to work with once shrinking started. And that means less total deterioration overall.  

Banish brain downsizers 
Here are some other cognitive-health tips to consider: 

  • Stamp out stress. Chronic stress can be a real brain drain, and troubled finances may be one major cause. 
  • Minimize the mai tais. Some studies suggest that alcohol abuse may shrink the hippocampus.

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