Walk your way
Walk yourself to good health. Walk the
dog, walk with friends, walk in a mall,
hike in nature or walk to work.
“Exercise, fresh air, sunshine and
being close to nature are relaxing for
the brain,” Genesh explains. “Stress
plays a negative role in terms of
brain health, so walking is a great
activity for body and mind.” Walking
in groups is also a good way to be
“Walking is a great activity,” enthuses
Graham Matsalla, health promotion
facilitator with Alberta Health
Services, Healthy Living, Chronic
Disease Prevention, Provincial
Physical Activity Promotion Team.
“Almost everyone can do it any time.
And we can incorporate walking into
all aspects of our lives, getting the
benefits of physical activity without
having to add an extra task into
Many groups offer walks and hikes for
different age groups and skill levels.
Outdoor adventure—cycling, canoeing,
kayaking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing,
for example—are good for brain and physical
Geocache uses GPS to find hidden treasures
placed in public spaces by networks of people
in every neighbourhood and around the world.
Like orienteering, which involves following
maps and clues to arrive somewhere, these are
mentally stimulating, family-inclusive activities.
An outdoor gym or park in your community
can be part of your outdoor adventure. Walk
or cycle (always wearing a helmet) there to
participate, and enjoy being outside. Activities
such as walking or cycling are gentle on aging
joints, and you can enjoy them throughout
life. There are options for people with limited
mobility or who are in wheelchairs.
Put down roots
Keep fit mentally and physically by
gardening. Gardening is an enjoyable,
moderate activity that helps keep muscles
toned, while being outdoors and nurturing
flowers, shrubs and vegetables can help
you feel calm and connected with nature.
Veggies are healthy too.
Be a sport
Engage in play. Volleyball, badminton,
Frisbee, bowling, curling, bocce and hide-and-seek are physical games that you
can play with the whole family.
“Games can be adapted to various
skill and mobility levels, so everyone
is included and having fun together,”
Matsalla explains. “Think about your
favourite sport or activity and about how
you can adapt it to include a child or
someone with low mobility.”
Dance to a
Take a community class and learn a
new dance to waltz yourself to brain
health with physical well-being.
Ask your community centre or gym
about classes that are (or can be)
modified for aging joints, injuries or
Yoga is for life
You don’t have to bend into a pretzel to
achieve the lifelong benefits of mild yoga.
It stimulates all of the organs and helps
maintain balance, alignment and strength.
And it’s a great stress reliever—good for