We already know that exercise significantly reduces the chances of someone developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, a new study has come to the same conclusion, but from the opposite angle, that of stopping exercise.
A new study from the University of Maryland (UMD) School of Public Health (recently published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience) adds further weight to the thery that there’s a strong link between physical fitness and cognitive health.
In the study, healthy older adults who stopped exercising for only ten days showed signs of significant decreases in blood flow to parts of the brain that are important for thinking, learning, and memory.
The researchers found significant reductions in resting brain blood flow in eight brain regions in fit older adults who stopped exercising.
In their study paper, the researchers discuss how evidence shows endurance exercise training improves cerebrovascular health and has positive effects on the hippocampus, but what happens to these benefits if exercise ceases is somewhat unclear.
N 29 years, the volunteers regularly took part in national and regional events.
Just before taking part in the study, they were running an average of 59 kilometers a week and training on 5 days a week.
“We know that if you are less physically active, you are more likely to have cognitive problems and dementia as you age. However, we did not find any evidence that cognitive abilities worsened after stopping exercising for just 10 days. But the take home message is simple – if you do stop exercising for 10 days, just as you will quickly lose your cardiovascular fitness, you will also experience a decrease in blood brain flow.”