We know the positive impact exercise has on our physical health, but did you know that physical activity has a positive impact on your brain?
A recent study conducted on nine masters athletes aged between 50-80 years demonstrated marked changes in blood flow to various regions of the brain with a 10 days cessation of exercise.
Each athlete was selected based on a criterion of having trained 5 days per week for 15 years; with an average running distance within the group of 58 kilometres per week. But for the study they were asked to stop exercising for 10 days straight.
Imaging of their brains showed that stopping exercise completely changed the amount of blood flow to their brains, especially the hippocampus which is responsible for memory and learning.
Furthermore. Blood flow decrease was shown in eight other regions of their brain;
- Left Cerebellum
- Right lingual Cyrus
- Left inferior temporal gyrus
- Left inferior parietal lobule
- Left fusiform gyrus
- Right cerebellum
- Right cerebellum tonsil
- Right cerebellum precuneous
Stopping exercise contributed to lowering blood flow to many vital regions of their brain. The study didn’t show an impairment of these athletes on cognitive function tests; however, this was only after a 10 day cessation of exercise.
So what is the impact of physical inactivity on your short and long term memory over periods of weeks, months, years and decades. What impact does reducing blood flow to vital regions of your brain have on your memory as you age? This preliminary study examined blood flow changes over a short period; and perhaps this is telling a much bigger story.
The physical activity guidelines of WHO are perhaps just as important for your physical health; as they are on your long-term memory and learning.
Source: You Tube How not exercising transforms your brain