What did you do today ? did you go running ? Did you climb a flight of stairs ? Did you do any sport ? Otherwise, be careful, your brain may age faster and shrink. Yes, it’s scary, but before putting on your shoes, we tell you more.
“In our study, we found a direct correlation between the absence of sports activity and brain size two decades later. Without sport, there is accelerated brain aging,” says Nicole Spartano, author of the study for the American Academy of Neurology. “This study is particularly important for people with or at risk of heart disease. We have found that with them the effect is even stronger. “Sports practice prevents circulation problems, without it, the brain ages twice as fast.
In the early 1980s, just over a thousand healthy, 40-year-old participants were invited to take part in the study. Their mission is to run on a treadmill until exhaustion. Gradually, the researchers increase the speed and the slope. Running time, heart rate and blood pressure are then used in an equation to estimate fitness. They determined who played sports and who did not. Twenty years later, between 1998 and 2001, the same people, now 60 years old, take the test again. Obviously a light version. They then undergo an MRI. The results show that those who did not practice sport at 40 years old have a brain one year older and smaller than the sportsmen.
The same procedure was performed on a sample of 1500 people with heart problems, this time the results are worse. Without sport, brain aging takes two years in advance. However, these results must be weighed. Information from the 1980s is incomplete. No MRIs had been done on the participants, so it is difficult to know the original size of their brains, only estimates were made. In addition, they only have a sample of the physical form at 40, without developing on the habits of the participants. « We are unable to prove that there is a cause and effect relationship », explains Nicole Spartano. They can only suggest a correlation. Other studies tend towards this link. They show that sport improves blood circulation and the release of oxygen to the brain. It would therefore be logical for the repercussions to be felt twenty years later… Come on, we’ll leave you alone! Go run 15 kilometers!