Too Much Sitting is Bad for Your Brain
If you spend a lot of time sitting, you may want to develop habits that get you out of the chair or off of the couch. Researchers at UCLA have found a link between time spent sitting and changes in a section of the brain that is critical for memory.
Researchers asked 35 people between the ages of 45 and 75 about their physical activity and average number of hours per day spent sitting during the previous week. Participants also had a high-resolution MRI scan to provide a detailed look at their medial temporal lobe (MTL), which is a region of the brain that is involved in the formation of new memories.
From the participants’ information, researchers identified an association between longer periods of time spent sitting and thinner regions in the MTL. Thinning of the MTL can be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia in middle-aged and elderly adults.
This study did not ask participants if they took any breaks during their week, but researchers suggest that reducing time spent sitting could be a way to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s been well documented that sitting for long periods of time can also put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity. So, for your physical and mental health, get up and move around for five minutes every hour. If you work at a desk, consider getting a standing desk. If you coach any clients over the phone, trying walking around your office during a session (as long as it’s not too distracting to you or your client). These small changes can help you improve and maintain your mind and health.