Stopping exercise for 10 days reduces brain blood flow

Stopping exercise for 10 days reduces brain blood flow
Highlights

Stopping exercise for just 10 days can lead to significant decrease in blood flow to several regions of the brain, including the hippocampus which plays an important role in learning and memory, a new study has found. 

Washington: Stopping exercise for just 10 days can lead to significant decrease in blood flow to several regions of the brain, including the hippocampus which plays an important role in learning and memory, a new study has found.

The study led by researchers at University of Maryland School of Public Health in the US examined cerebral blood flow in healthy, physically fit older adults (ages 50-80 years) before and after a 10-day period during which they stopped all exercise.

Using Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)brain imaging techniques, they found a significant decrease in blood flow to several brain regions, including the hippocampus, after they stopped their exercise routines.

"We know that the hippocampus plays an important role in learning and memory and is one of the first brain regions to shrink in people with Alzheimer's disease," said Dr J Carson Smith, lead author of the study.

"In rodents, the hippocampus responds to exercise training by increasing the growth of new blood vessels and new neurons, and in older people, exercise can help protect the hippocampus from shrinking," said Smith.

"So, it is significant that people who stopped exercising for only 10 days showed a decrease in brain blood flow in brain regions that are important for maintaining brain health," said Smith.

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