Lack of physical activity leads to poor brain blood flow
Regular physical exercises have a positive impact on almost all body mechanisms. Since it ensures a good provision of oxygen and makes sure the heart pumps the blood really well, it is logical, that even a temporary pause in physical activity can lead to various disorders is the cardiovascular system functioning. But does this pause also affect the brain function, and if yes, how? A recent study aimed to see how a break in regular physical activity at older people can affect their brain function. By the end of the study, the researchers concluded, that even a short-term break of 10 days could affect the normal blood flow towards brain, which meant the brain did not get enough oxygen and other nutrients that ensure its normal function.
One of the brain parts, affected by the lack of blood flow during the physical routine break, is hippocampus – an important brain part, responsible for cognitive skills and memory. This is the part that degrades during the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Hippocampus is also responsible for creating new neurons, which, in older people, is important in order to keep the brain function on a normal level. That is why it is just as important to regularly exercise in older age, as it is in youth. And that is why even a small pause in regular physical activity in older age, represents a risk for the normal brain function as it reduced the brain blood flow and therefore, affects hippocampus, when it, on the contrary, requires increased attention and maintenance.
The study, aimed to understand the connection between the break in regular physical activity and cognitive decline at older people, studied the participants who were doing daily physical routine for many years and who stopped doing it for 10 days. According to the results of the magnetic resonance imaging, the pause in regular exercises affected several other brain regions, besides left and right hippocampus, all involved in the cognitive process and exposed to deterioration during the development of Alzheimer’s. The impact on the brain regions was mainly caused by the reduced brain blood flow.
Even though the study did not trace the direct connection between the break in regular physical activity and cognitive decline, it clearly stated that the break leads to a reduced brain blood flow, which, in turn, can affect a number of various mechanisms in human body, including the brain regions, responsible for cognitive skills.