“You may already know that being inactive could have adverse effects on your physique and arteries. However, that’s not the only negative impact because, if left unchecked, our brains might suffer severe consequences.”
To stay in shape, a minimum level of physical activity is necessary. This doesn’t mean you have to engage in long walks every week. What you do in your daily life (climbing stairs, cycling, walking) is sufficient for an entire day.
The consequences of this inactivity on our health can be dire, including the risk of obesity and issues affecting the heart and blood vessels. These diseases can creep in if our bodies are not adequately engaged. But there’s another consequence of this lack of physical activity: brain shrinkage. According to researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine, people who engage in no physical activity experience a reduction in brain size, which in turn leads to early cognitive decline.
A 20-Year Study
To better understand the impact of inactivity on brain function, volunteers aged 31 to 49 underwent tests by researchers. After 20 years, they underwent scans and other MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) tests to assess the state of their brains.
The Test Results: Differences in Brain Shrinkage Rates
Naturally, both the volunteers and their brains had aged, but not at the same rates. Generally, the brains of all volunteers shrank by an average of 0.2% each year.
However, since their levels of physical activity differed, the test results varied. For every 20% reduction in physical activity, an additional 0.2% reduction in brain mass occurred. These numbers are significant because this brain aging can eventually lead to cognitive shortages and memory loss.
Conclusion: Move to Preserve Your Brain Health
Exercising solely to improve physical appearance is shortsighted. Moving is necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the entire body, including our cognitive abilities.
Jogging is a good option as it promotes neurogenesis, and those who engage in it regularly exhibit better brain performance. That’s why you should incorporate physical activities into your routine as often as possible, depending on your endurance. This doesn’t mean doing exercises that you can’t endure. Simply start by gradually changing your habits, for example, by adding a weekly walk or a trip to the pool.
Over time, you’ll find that you’ll embrace this new way of life!