Sitting hours without moving can slow the blood supply to the brain, according to a new preventive study of office staff, a finding that can have long-term mental health effects. However, standing up and walking for only two minutes every half hour seems to ward off this deterioration in the brain's bloodstream and can even speed it up.
Blood flow to our brains is one of the automatic internal processes that most of us almost never consider, although it is essential for life and cognition. Brain cells need oxygen and nutrients from the blood and several large blood vessels constantly carry blood to our heads.
Because this flow is so necessary, the brain regulates it strictly, by following various physiological signals, including the levels of carbon dioxide in our blood, to keep the velocity of the current within a very narrow range.
However, there are some small fluctuations, both sudden and prolonged, that may have an impact. Previous studies in humans and animals indicate that light and short drops in blood flow in the brain can temporarily impede thinking and memory, while long-term decreases are linked to higher risks of presenting some neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia.
Continue to The New York Times to continue reading