Sitting is Bad for Your Brain

April 17th, 2018

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.
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