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Inactivty & the Brain

I’m sure you’ve heard many times that being active is great for your brain, but did you know that being inactive is actually bad for your brain? Your brain is something that is ever changing — it doesn’t just stop evolving once you hit a certain age. How do you do something like this? You exercise! I read a really cool article called How Inactivity Changes the Brain from Well which is based off of a study found in The Journal of Comparative Neurology. This study was done on rats (yes, I know rats… but they said they the results are likely to have implications for humans as well) by scientists Wayne State University School of Medicine. Here’s a quick summary on what they found:

  • 12 Dozen Rats
  • 1/2 rats had a running wheel where they could run anytime they wanted while 1/2 didn’t have the wheel and had to remain sedentary
  • 3 months later, a dye was injected into the rats that would illuminate certain parts of the brain, specifically that affecting the heart and lungs
  • Active rat’s neurons were still shaped the same as they were when the study started
  • Inactive rats’ nerouns changed in a way that would make them easily over-stimulated leading to a potential increase in blood pressure which potentially could lead to heart disease
  • “This finding is important because it adds to our understanding of how, at a cellular level, inactivity increases the risk of heart disease, Dr. Mueller said. But even more intriguing, the results underscore that inactivity can change the structure and functioning of the brain, just as activity does.”

Research done by:

  1. Nicholas A. Mischel1,
  2. Ida J. Llewellyn-Smith1,2,
  3. Patrick J. Mueller1,*

Article first published online: 20 DEC 2013

DOI: 10.1002/cne.23464

Want more information? Check out the study’s abstract and the full study here:;jsessionid=6AD3A6FF01EE4E469863C34EADE28869.f03t01

Check out the article here: