We’ve written extensively about the negative impact of a sedentary life on physical health, but we haven’t touched on potential mental implications. There have been a few studies released tieing too much sitting or standing to a reduced ability to focus, but a study that was just released is making waves. Prabha Siddarth of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA published findings in the journal PLOS ONE that associates a sedentary lifestyle with “reduced medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults.” Put simply, sitting too much may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and even aggressive exercise likely doesn’t make up for it.
The study included people who were ages 45 and 75. They were asked how many hours they spent sitting per day during the prior week. Following the questions, specialized MRI’s measured the thickness of the subject’s medial temporal lobes. This is the areas of the brain that is responsible for creating and storing memories. It was clear from the research that subjects who had a more sedentary pattern also had thinner medial temporal lobes. The statement concluded that “can be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia in middle-aged and older adults.”
Our recommendation? Start finding ways to break up your day at work. Take frequent breaks and consider taking the 30-day challenge to start standing at work.
Citation: Siddarth P, Burggren AC, Eyre HA, Small GW, Merrill DA (2018) Sedentary behavior associated with reduced medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0195549. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195549