This article was recently posted in regards to how our brains change with inactivity.
It’s been known for quite some time how activity and new exercises can create new pathways in the brain and prompt the creation of new brain cells. Recently, a study was completed on rats to show that inactivity also has an effect on the brain. A quick summary of the study is that they gathered 12 rats and put half of them in cages with wheels (they covered almost 3 miles/day!) and the other half in cages with no wheels. After 3 months, the scientist injected dye into the rats to observe the part of the brain that controls our sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system controls our homeostasis; blood pressure is one of the components. In healthy, active individuals, the sympathetic nervous system runs smoothly.
What the scientists found after injecting the dye was that the neurons from the sedentary group of rats had sprouted an abnormal number of branches which causes the neurons to be more sensitive to stimuli and therefore can send wonky messages to the nervous system. In effect, causing blood pressure to rise which can contribute to the development of heart disease.
As the article points out, it was a small study completed on rats but the main take away is that the brain is effected by inactivity.
I thought this study was incredibly interesting because often the brain is rarely addressed in regards to the importance of staying active and healthy. Just another reason to add to the list of why moving our bodies can change our lives, and in some cases, save it.
How are you working activity into your day? Parking further away in the parking lot? Taking the stairs? Going on a walk at lunch hour? Getting up from your desk every hour and walking around, stretching, and doing a few squats? Every little bit counts!