Lack of Exercise Can Decline Brain Function

Taking a short walk along the neighborhood or participating in simple exercise can not only benefit your physical health, but also heighten your mental health. New study revealed that not enough physical activity may be linked with poorer cognitive abilities.

How was the research conducted?

On Monday, January 23, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health said a lack of exercise was associated with a small decrease in cognitive functioning. Although the difference between those who regularly exercise and those who don't were minimal, it still revealed how the slightest physical exercise can impact one's overall health.

The study, led by researcher at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health John Mitchell and his colleagues, utilized data from the 1970 British Cohort Study that is still continuous today.

The study included 4,500 individuals that were tracked from 2016 to 2018. All participants were required to give information on their health and lifestyle habits, while also wearing a tracker for their daily activities. While undergoing the study, participants were evaluated on their processing and recalling abilities.

On average, participants completed 51 minutes of moderate to intense physical exercise. They also had six hours of lighter activities, including walking, and nine hours of inactivity, such as resting or lying down.

They also got approximately eight hours of sleep to make sure they were energized. The research found that participants who did not complete the eight-minute moderate to intense exercise had a 1 to 2 percent decline in their cognition scores.

What did the study find?

They also noticed a homogenous result on those who skipped intense workout with six minutes of lighter physical activity or seven minutes of sleep. The researchers discovered, after analyzing the activity data of the participants, that the cognition scores of those who engaged in eight minutes of sedentary behavior instead of exercise decreased by 1% to 2%.

When people substituted intense exercise with six minutes of lighter physical activity or seven minutes of sleep, researchers observed similar reduction in cognitive performance. However, the opposite was also observed to be accurate. Cognitive performance was better when exercising instead of sitting.

According to the findings of the study, cognition scores increased by more than 1% when sitting or lying down was replaced with nine minutes of robust exercise.

How can you participate in daily physical activity?

CDC also recommends participating in regular physical activity to keep yourself healthy. It boosts your physical and mental health, meaning it can boost your cognitive abilities. Some simple physical activities you can participate in include dancing, walking along the neighborhood, or just moving around inside your home.

For healthy adults aged 19 to 64, the National Health Service (NHS) also recommends some type of physical activity for adults every day, including gymnastics, aerobics, swimming, or sports such as soccer, hockey, or rugby. More vigorous exercises include lifting, tai chi, pilates, and heavy gardening activities.



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