Boring man at meeting

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What habits are you willing to develop today to ensure your healthy future? A new study indicates that cushy desk day jobs and Netflix binge-watching nights may be leading to routines that are bad for your metabolism and your brain.

UCLA researchers conducted a study on a small group of individuals ages 45-75 years old. The participants logged their activity time and the number of hours spent sitting. They were also given an MRI scan, which provided detailed information on the MTL (medial temporal lobe), a portion of the brain connected to memory formation. After careful examination, researchers found that a sedentary lifestyle was an accurate predictor of thinning of the MTL.

Why is this important? MTL thinning is thought to be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia. Researchers are in the process of conducting further studies to help determine best practices to combat the issue. As of now, increasing daily activity and reducing sedentary behavior is the targeted intervention to help combat declines and improve brain health.

There is just one caveat: You can’t play catch-up. The study found that periodic bursts of physical activity weren’t enough to offset the harmful effects of sitting for long periods of time. That means frequent and consistent exercise is key.

Integrating more activity into your daily lifestyle, and encouraging loved ones to do the same, is a win/win; it will improve the physical and mental well being of all parties involved.