Sedentary Behavior Associated with Brain Shrinkage and Dementia: Get Moving and Protect Your Brain! © The Wellness Practice © Dr. James L. Chestnut M.Sc, D.C., C.C.W.P. Siddarth, P. et al. (2018) Sedentary behavior associated with reduced medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults. PLoS One (13)4: 1-13
QUOTE BOARD: “Growing evidence from clinical trials, epidemiological and neuroscience research suggests that physical exercise is a promising intervention for delaying the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” “Further, physical activity has been shown to have notable beneficial effects on brain structure, both microstructure and macrostructure.” “A 25% reduction in sedentary behavior could potentially prevent more than 1 million Alzheimer’s Disease cases globally.” “Several mechanisms have been postulated for how physical activity improves brain health, including increased blood flow in the brain [from exercise] to promote the development of new neurons and delaying brain structural and functional decline.”
What You Need to Know: Sedentary behavior, especially sitting, is strongly associated with shrinking of the brain and cognitive decline. Only the areas of the brain that are active receive proper blood flow and thus proper nutrients required for maintaining and/or regaining health. Brain tissue, like every tissue in your body, requires nerve flow and blood flow to maintain health and for healing from injury. Nerve flow comes first, nerve flow determines which tissues are active and active tissues receive increased blood flow and thus increased nutrients required for health, for growth, and for repair. When you are sedentary, when you sit too much and when you don’t exercise enough, the areas of your brain associated with receiving information from your body and for controlling and coordinating your body during exercise don’t get activated and thus don’t receive sufficient amounts of nerve stimulation and blood flow. The areas of the brain that coordinate movement (cerebellum and hippocampus) are the same areas that coordinate thinking and emotion. This is why people who exercise regularly do better cognitively, better emotionally, as well as better physically.
What You Need to Do: You need to sufficiently stimulate your mind and body with sufficient movement and exercise! Walk every day, get up every 30 minutes and do some stretching, some deep knee bends or squats, and some spinal range of motion exercises. If you want a healthy mind you need a healthy body – period!