Long periods of inactivity can impair brain function.
The working conditions and leisure options available beg our lives to be highly sedentary. Aside from commuting to work, which may involve some walking, we usually spend the day sitting in front of one screen, just to get home and sit in front of another.
Already on the weekend, nothing more tempting than catching up on all those amazing shows. Even for those who like it, physical exercise involves some degree of discomfort and generally everyone prefers to relax. The problem is that something that at first may seem very interesting is increasingly a health risk.
Surveys and more surveys
It does not take scientific research to say that spending long periods sitting is not beneficial to health. Nevertheless, several studies have analyzed the situation and pointed out that a sedentary lifestyle is related to obesity, cholesterol and high blood pressure problems, as well as increased risks of developing cancer.
Another study came to even more catastrophic conclusions, indicating that even those who exercise regularly are not totally free from the problems caused by sitting. One of the latest research published now shows that, besides all that is known, sitting for a long time could affect the functioning of your brain.
Our blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to all regions of the body, including our brain. This distribution directly influences our cognitive and motor functions, and a recently released study found that people who spend long periods sitting have a decrease in blood flow in the brain.
The analyzes were performed by a group of researchers from Liverpool John Moores University who, for the study, examined 15 healthy men and women working in the office. Blood flow was observed in three moments, correlating the data after each situation to which the participants were submitted.
In the first situation, participants had to sit for 4 hours, working or reading a book, and getting up just to go to the bathroom. In the second stage, they would get up every 30 minutes and walk quietly on a treadmill for 2 minutes. The last test required them to work for 2 hours and then walk on the treadmill for 8 minutes at the same speed as the previous test.
Results showed that blood flow in the brain decreased when participants remained stationary for long periods. The difference between the beginning and the end of the test was not large, however it existed. In the second test, in which breaks were taken every 2 hours, the amount of blood circulating in the brain increased during walking but fell shortly after they sat down.
The only situation in which flow remained stable was when participants took breaks every 30 minutes. It is worth remembering, however, that the idea of the study is not to identify if this change in blood distribution can cause damage over time, but rather what are the necessary measures to avoid known short-term problems.
It is not always possible to stop every 30 minutes for a walk during the day, but the study showed that that coffee break goes far beyond the drink itself. As irrelevant as they may seem, small attitudes such as getting up more often can have far more benefits than you might think.
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