Sitting is Bad for Your Brain

Did you know that people who meet the The American Heart Association’s recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate – intense exercise each week – are still at risk of developing “thinning” brain tissue?

A new study published in the April 12, 2018 edition of PLOS One found that too much time spent sitting was correlated with an unhealthy “thinning” of the brain tissue holding memories .  And, it may not make a difference how active you are when you’re not sitting.

“We found that sedentary behavior, but not [levels of] physical activity, was associated with less thickness of the medial temporal lobe,” a brain region that’s crucial to the formation of new memories, explained a team led by Prabha Siddarth, a biostatistician at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

He continued, “It is possible that there may be two distinct groups: mentally active sitting and mentally inactive sitting. In mentally active sitting, individuals may be attending to cognitive demanding tasks such as crossword puzzles, documentation, writing, or computer games. In mentally inactive sitting, individuals may be engaging in less demanding, passive tasks such as watching television or movies.”

This thinning of the medial temporal lobe is suspected of being a forerunner of mental decline and dementia in middle-aged and older adults. Reducing the amount of time spent sitting could be a way to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

So, get off the couch and your chair at work! Take a walk around the neighborhood with your family and your beloved pet, act like a kid again and play with your kids at the playground and forgo the elevator at work by breaking a sweat climbing the stairs.  Your body – and your family – will thank you for taking active steps to prolong your health, your life and your mental state.

Are you in need of fitness assistance?  Fitness for Health can help you create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun and sustaining weight management.  We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your and your children’s exact needs while helping you reach your unique health goals and improve senior health. From first-time gym-goers to NFL professional athletes looking for athletic training, Fitness for Health has fitness programs to help people of all ages and abilities reach their fullest potential. And, we offer family workouts and Open Gym playtimes so families can become active together.