Keep Walking to Stay Mentally Sharp

By: Gary W. Small, M.D.

My wife’s 103-year-old grandmother lived in a third floor walk-up apartment in New York City. Every day she walked up and down those stairs several times to go shopping, to the post office, the dry cleaner’s and do other little errands. At 103, she was as sharp as a tack. She never forgot a birthday, an anniversary or a single holiday. And God forbid you forgot to send her a card or call her on her birthday — you’d hear about it for ages. The exercise she got on those stairs and errands may not only have protected her heart so she could live past 100, it may also have protected her brain.

Walking is one of the safest and easiest ways to get an aerobic workout. How much walking or exercise each person needs depends on their baseline fitness level, age and other health factors. And getting short amounts of cardio workouts throughout the week is more effective than being a weekend warrior who only exercises on Saturday and Sunday.


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  1. Hi Jane,

    When I first moved into my apartment in July 2000 here in Hamburg, Germany I could hardly breathe when I climbed the stairs. Over a hundred steps to get to my apartment. I thought I would collapse when I got home. When friends visit, they ring the doorbell down at street level, I open my apartment door and call down to them, telling them that I’m at the top. You can hear them groan every time. (Does this remind you of a movie??). Over the years this staircase has been my gym. I’ve gotten fitter and healthier through those stairs. Aparently I have a great butt too 😉 When I get older I know that there is one thing I will not do – move into a first floor apartment. Those 100 stairs keep me healthy. It’s getting harder the older I get, I have to admit, but without them I would be such a wimp! 😉

    I love the fact that my stairwell resembles Barefoot in the Park (which I tell every visitor, by the way!). I even quote some of the movie’s lines about the stairs to guests who have no idea what their in for…!

    Take care.

  2. By the way, did you see this article?

    Academic performance at school linked to exercise

    Thought you might be interested in the findings.

    Take care

    • Wonderful article, Jason. Thank you!!! I will post

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