Physically fit, healthy older adults who stopped exercising for only 10 days showed signs of significant decreases in blood flow to parts of the brain that are important for thinking, learning, and memory – such as the hippocampus.
Exercise increases growth of new blood vessels and brain cells. Also, research shows that in older people, exercise can protect the hippocampus from shrinking.
“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.” – Prof. J. Carson Smith
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