Running reduces brain size, study finds

The other day, while browsing social networks, I saw a headline that struck me: “Running shrinks the brain”. And of course, for someone like me who runs almost every day, this news immediately caused me amazement and great concern.

How can running reduce brain size? With all the benefits of exercise, is running bad for your health? Will running make me more “dumb”? I needed answers because if running means I’m “shorter”, I’ll look for another sport. Maybe practice the noble art of Frisbee the Dog from now on …

Extremes are also bad when it comes to “running”

I had already heard of the harmful effects that running can have. In fact, it is very common for people to be addicted to this sport, which is called “runnorexia”. Among the benefits of running we can see that: reduces stress, improves cardiovascular capacity, reduces risk of disease, etc. But like any addiction, runnorexia has negative health consequences.

But going back to racing shrinks the brain, and to avoid misinterpretation, the title of this article needs to be qualified. Running has many positive effects. however, running long distances can have adverse health effects.

German study claims running very long distances shrinks the brain

Bring the body to the end and running long distances can shrink the brain by 6.1%, As reported in a study conducted in Germany. Even more surprisingly, the researchers found that after eight months, the brain had returned to its normal size.

For this study, scientists from Ulm University Hospital (Germany) evaluated 44 participants in the 2009 edition of the Trans Europe Foot Race, a competition that consists of running from Italy to Norway, i.e. a distance of 4,500 km in 64 days. .

The research was conducted by Uwe Schütz, a German radiologist, and the results were presented at the Annual Radiology Congress. This study contradicts most of the studies conducted so far, as they claim that running provides many psychological and neurological benefits: it improves mood or reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, among others.

There is no evidence that this happens with jogging or a marathon.

Schütz explains that: “Despite the negative effects on the brain caused by the catabolic stress of an ultramarathon, this is due to an adaptive and reversible process. There are no long-term injuries.” Further, “It seems that this decrease in gray matter is due to the monotony of staring at the forehead for so many days in a row. It’s like the brain is relaxing.”

In other words, all indications are that this loss of mass affects the area of ​​vision, which the long-distance runner calls “tunnel vision”. But beware, there is no reason to cancel your running session this afternoon, as it doesn’t seem to be the same with a marathon or a jog.

Runnorexia is a problem for runners

Runnorexia is a real problem that can affect regular runners. This phenomenon causes the person to overestimate running and make it the priority of their life, even above their family, friends, work, etc.

Running is everything for a “runnorexico”, and not being able to train for some reason means great frustration. They have been reported cases of people canceling appointments or not going to work one day in order to be able to conduct their sessionBecause the discomfort that these people feel if they do not perform these sessions is greater than them. This is one of the signs of an obsession.

The symptoms of runnorexia are the same as those of addiction to any type of exercise (eg, weight training). These symptoms appear when the person is unable to perform physical activity and can be: anxiety, depression or irritability.

To learn more about runnorexia, we invite you to read this interesting article “Runnorexia”: Modern Running Addiction ”

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