healthy living

Sitting all day increases chances of memory loss, scientists find

Sitting over 10 hours per day increases the risk of dementia, even if you regularly exercise, a study published in General Psychiatry revealed. Data from the UK Biobank examined 49,841 adults, and the conclusions also supported the already debated link between sedentary behavior and cardiovascular diseases and mortality.

Sedentary lifestyle and dementia

The study author, David Raichlen, professor of biological sciences and anthropology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, explained to Newsweek that the “link between sedentary behavior was nonlinear so that at lower amounts of sitting time, there was no significant increase in risk.” The professor added, “Ten hours per day of sedentary behavior was associated with an 8 percent increase in risk of dementia, and 12 hours per day was associated with a 63 percent increase in risk of dementia.”

The results were surprising

Study author Gene Alexander, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, admitted, “We were surprised to find that the risk of dementia begins to rapidly increase after 10 hours spent sedentary each day, regardless of how the sedentary time was accumulated.” Raichlen elaborated that taking breaks from sitting is helpful and added that one potential link could be the “reductions in cerebral blood flow or links between sedentary behavior and cardiometabolic disease factors may play a role in increased risk for dementia.”

Sitting most of the day increases other health risks

Dr. Carolyn Fredericks, assistant professor of neurology at Yale School of Medicine, told Medical News Today, “We know that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with a number of poor health outcomes and chronic illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.” Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen, Ph.D., told MNT that “physical activity and exercise are associated with numerous, if not hundreds, of health benefits, the opposite is also true for ‘sedentarism.'” That includes obesity and being overweight, certain cancers, hypertension, metabolic disease, and more.

Sitting is the new smoking

Dr. Fredericks revealed, “The research suggests about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio daily is enough to significantly decrease the risk of memory loss as you get older.” Another doctor, Liron Sinvani, a geriatric hospitalist, compared sitting to smoking and warned, “Sitting can be thought of as the new smoking. It is critical to improve inactivity. The right time to start is today. Physical activity is important at any age.”

Chose activities that you enjoy

Dr. Sinvani also advised people to choose enjoyable activities because they are easier to sustain. The doctor also reminded, ” For older adults, it is important to discuss your physical activity plan with your physician or primary care provider before starting to ensure safety, especially in those with existing high blood pressure or heart disease. It is also important to start gradually and increase activity as tolerated.” The researchers agreed that physical activity is vital, but so is cutting the sitting time and taking regular breaks from sitting while being mindful of your movements and sedentary behavior during the day.

Leave a Comment