Science has discovered that middle age spread may indicate a tinier brain in old age. Thus the lack of physical fitness may affect mental health as well somewhere down the line.
Those people who are really unfit in their middle years may face more trouble when they become aged and decrepit. Their brain volumes may shrink to less than average size due to the uhealthy lifestyle they are following.
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Their fitter and healthier counterparts do not face such symptoms in old age though. And it all boils down to exercise which is the fountain of youth.
Past studies pointed out that brain shrinkage was a natural part of the aging process. But now we know better. Inactivity and a host of other unhealthy lifestyle practices count as agents of brain shrinkage during senescence.
Tobacco use, overweight status, diabetes and hypertension seem to aggravate and quicken the situation. The poverty in fitness levels in middle age led to the worst conditions two decades afterwards.
Brain tissue ages faster and it also contracts under the circumstances. The pleasures of smoking like a chimney and eating piles of junk food led to a payback time when old age arrived.
Especially, those individuals who had heart disease or were prone to heart attacks had to be very careful regarding the consequences of their actions and activities.
In their cases, the correlation and causation were even stronger than usual. Over 1583 people took part in the study. They took the treadmill test at the age of 40 too.
About 20 years later they were put on the treadmill as they huffed and puffed in an effort to jog and run on it. Also MRI scans of their brains were conducted. They were approximately 58 years old at the time.
During the former treadmill test, 89% of the participants reached their target heart rate levels. But two decades later, those who were unfit the first time around were found to have a smaller brain volume.
The more unfit they had been in their middle age years, the more difficulties they faced later on when the second treadmill test took place.
The only limit this study had was that the treadmill test which took place two decades later was easier to accomplish than the one which occurred originally. Thus maximum exercise capacity was a slot which was left unfilled in the experiment’s results.
Basically, the message of the study, published in the journal Neurology, is that we ought to exercise more and also clean up our diets. The problems that appear later on in old age are of the sort that make death and dying a messy process.
So in order to enjoy one’s last days without becoming a burden on the state or one’s relatives would be a more ideal thing than ending up in a hospital hooked up to some life support machine.