There are several studies that indicate that exercise produces changes in the brain. However, a recent study seems to indicate that a sedentary lifestyle also causes changes in the brain.
Sedentary lifestyle and health problems
the physical inactivity and the sedentary lifestyle are the most important risk factors for the development of different diseases. In Western societies, due to increased home comforts, the rise of technology, or working long hours in increasingly intellectual jobs, many people have sedentary lifestyle which is harmful to health and well-being.
Data published by the WHO warns that at least 60% of the world’s population do not engage in the physical activity necessary for health benefits. Sedentary lifestyle is the fourth risk factor for mortality in the world, causing 6% of deaths worldwide. In addition, in Spain there are 30% sedentary people.
Sitting for more than 6 hours a day causes 30% of cardiovascular disease, 23% of breast and colon cancer and 27% of diabetes.
The negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle
Since the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle are numerous, here are some of the most important:
obesity: The metabolism slows down when a person has a sedentary lifestyle, which makes it easier to gain weight.
Weakened bones: Lack of physical activity causes weak bones and causes diseases such as osteoporosis.
tired: Poor physical condition causes the person to tire very quickly. Daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs pose great physical challenges. In addition, cholesterol increases.
Prone to muscle tears.
Decreased elasticity and joint mobility, impaired capacity and responsiveness.
Traffic slowdown with the consequent feeling of heaviness and edema, and the development of venous dilations (varicose veins).
lower back pain and injuries to the support system, poor posture, due to poor development of the tone of the respective muscle masses.
Tendency to suffer from diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer.
discouragement, Discomfort, low self-esteem, decreased concentration
Brain changes caused by a sedentary lifestyle
Over the past decades, researchers have studied the psychological benefits of exercise and concluded that exercise it can improve our cognitive functions. Regardless of age or physical condition, spending time exercising also produces changes in the brain and many benefits for our mental well-being.
But a recent study indicates that not only does exercise cause changes in the brain, but a sedentary lifestyle also produces brain changes: in this case, damage. A lifestyle characterized by physical inactivity can alter the structure of neurons, adversely affecting an individual.
Studies with rats
The study, conducted by Wayne State University School of Medicine, was performed on sedentary rats and normal rats. A dozen rats were used which were separated into two groups. One group was forced to sit idle while the other used wheels to roll at will.
After 3 months, sedentary rats showed additional ramifications in neurons located in the rostral ventrolateral spinal cord, a part of the brainstem that is responsible for controlling respiration and other central non-conscious activities in the body. Neurons in this area of the brain have been involved in heart disease and hypertension since they control blood pressure by impaired constriction of blood vessels.