Like a lot of people these days, a large part of my day is spent at a computer. I research new scientific studies, I write these articles, I handle email and bills and the hundreds of other little things that make up my work and my life.
And then at night, I head home ready to relax with my family – which more often than not means vegging on the couch watching our favorite shows. Then it’s off to bed to do it all over again.
This might sound familiar to you too since it’s estimated that most people spend an average of 12 hours sitting down each and every day… And, if you think about it, you spend about eight hours sleeping, leaving only four hours a day that you’re actually up and about.
While most of us realize that all of this sitting can be a problem when it comes to losing weight or even keeping our hearts healthy, there’s one area of your health that sitting may have an even bigger impact…
Your brain health.
Oxygen and nutrients to feed a starving brain
You see, when you’re sitting, your muscles don’t contract as much, your heart doesn’t beat as fast and your blood doesn’t pump as quickly.
All of this adds up to less oxygen and nutrients flowing to your brain – things your brain needs in order to stay sharp, help you focus and preserve your memory and cognitive function as you age.
In fact, scientists say that the type of reduced blood flow to your brain that you get from sitting too much can dramatically raise your risk of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s.
But, there is something you can do about it… A simple solution that boosts the blood flow, oxygen levels and nutrients to your brain that’s been scientifically proven to work.
Short but regular breaks from sitting
Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University used ultrasound probes to track blood flow in the cerebral arteries of office workers in three different sessions.
In the first session, the workers sat at their computers for four straight hours, only getting up for bathroom breaks – something I’m guilty of regularly.
In the second session, the same workers got up from their desks every 30 minutes to spend just two minutes walking.
And, the third session involved walking for eight minutes every two hours.
In two of the sessions, the workers experienced decreased blood flow to their brains while in one of the sessions, their brain blood flow rose considerably.
Can you guess which was which?
Yup… the second session where the workers took a break every thirty minutes for a simple two-minute walking program delivered big brain health benefits!
The key was short but regular breaks.
Brain health helpers
So, if you want to preserve your brain health, be sure to set a timer when you’re at the computer or even relaxing watching TV to remind yourself to get on your feet and spend a couple of minutes moving to boost the blood flow to your brain.
Other brain health helpers include:
- Regular exercise – Just like those frequent breaks from sitting help to accelerate your blood flow to raise the levels of oxygen and other nutrients in your brain, regular exercise is also important for keeping your brain healthy. Shoot for thirty minutes three to five days per week of moderate exercise to increase your circulation and enhance your brain power.
- Go Mediterranean – The Mediterranean diet focusing on plenty of veggies, fruits, and lean meats has been shown to help protect your brain.
- Take a nap – Sleep is vital to recharge your brain. In fact, studies have shown that people do better on memory tests after taking a nap, so give yourself permission to return to your childhood and enjoy a daily nap.
- Practice mediation – If meditation has never been your thing, you might want to reconsider. A review of 20 scientific studies showed that people who practice meditation show positive changes in the brain in areas of memory and emotional regulation as well as body and self-awareness.
- Support your brain health – Just like your brain needs oxygen to function optimally, it also needs food to rejuvenate your brain cells and enhance performance and memory. One of the most researched brain foods is a nutrient known as phosphatidylserine or PS. In fact, studies have found that PS can roll back up to 12 years of mental decline. You can find phosphatidylserine in supplements like Peak PS™.
Don’t let your brain suffer from the sitting disease that’s so rampant in our country. Set a time to take regular breaks and boost your brain health using PS and the other tips above to stay sharp and focused and preserve your cognitive function no matter what your age.
- The Facts: The Human Body Is Designed To Move. — JustStand.org
- Stand up for yourself! Sitting down for long periods increases the risk of Alzheimer’s as scientists reveal what to do every 30 minutes to keep your brain healthy — Daily Mail
- 6 Scientific Ways to Boost Your Brain Health — Psychology Today