How Lack Of Exercise Causes Brain Shrinkage?
How is your typical day? You wake up, fix breakfast, drive to office, come back home, watch TV, have dinner and sleep off! That is something awfully bad to do! But this is the daily routine of most people. And to top it all there is mindless snacking! Scientists have already said that lack of exercise can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke and cancer later in life. There is more news for couch potatoes as now you can add brain shrinkage, Alzheimer’s and memory loss to the list too.
Common knowledge says that lack of physical exercise increases the risk of early death. Scientists are of the opinion that those who exercise in middle age and even after that will possibly have healthier brains twenty years later. On the other hand, couch potatoes have to face brain shrinkage as time passes by. This was reported very recently in the journal ‘Neurology’.
The latest study involves research of 20 years. Experts say that it is beneficial to do research that covers a longer time span. According to the research, the brains of people who don’t exercise not only dulls down the brain but also shrinks it with age. The shrinkage is small but is significant. Researchers are of the belief that this new study will make people understand that exercising and keeping yourself fit during middle years affects the brain health later on. The study suggests that the lack of exercise throughout life can increase the risk of dementia and increase memory loss.
Researchers did a treadmill test on the participants along with an MRI scan when they were 40 years of age and another set of tests recently. The team of researchers based their studies on many ordinary individuals spanning 70 years and 3 generations. In a nutshell, the researchers gathered information about the physical fitness of participants by conducting a treadmill test as physical fitness affects brain as well as heart health.
They measured how long the participants were able to stay on the treadmill before their heart rate touched 85% of the estimated max heart rate. This was used to estimate VO2 max (which is the max amount of oxygen a person’s body can use in a minute). The increase in the blood pressure and heart rates was also measured while the participants were on the treadmills. Individuals with lower VO2, higher BP and with the maximum increase in heart rate while exercising experienced more brain shrinkage 2 decades later.
The older studies indicated that physical exercise amongst the elderly reduced the risk of dementia and memory loss. However, the new study signals to the fact that a lack of exercise in middle age can shrink the brain and affect its functionality in later years.
The bottom line is clear and simple: if you are exercising, you should not stop and if you don’t exercise, you better start it after getting a green signal from the doctor (for middle aged people) as lack of exercise causes brain shrinkage!
By the way, why wait for middle age? You better get off the couch right now and get some exercise. Head outdoors for a brisk walk, a jog or a run, cycle around, take your dog out for a walk. Move it! Stay fit and healthy!
Hope this post on ‘Lack Of Exercise Causes Brain Shrinkage’ has been useful!
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