Can Sedentary Behaviour Harm Your Brain?

Sitting can not only have a negative effect on the body, but also our memory

Here’s another good reason to get up and move throughout the day

Turns out that aside from the negative effects that too much sitting has on our bodies, a preliminary study out of UCLA concludes that it’s also bad for our brains.

Researchers wanted to explore how sedentary behaviour affects the brain and specifically sought out the changes in the formation of memory. What they found—after collecting details from 35 people aged 45 to 75 about physical activity and hours spent sitting—was that MRI results revealed a thinning of the medial temporal lobe (MTL), which is the part of the brain involved in the formation of new memories.

More hours spent sitting are associated with thinner MTL regions, which can be a precursor to dementia and a decline in cognitive ability.

Researchers say the next step will be to follow a group of people for longer in order to determine if sitting causes the thinning.

As well, the roles of gender, race and weight will be examined. MTL thinning may be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia in middle aged and older adults. A reduction in sedentary behaviour could be the course of action to improve brain health, particularly for those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.