Admittedly, Gretchen may not have written the headline to her article at Carlos Slim’s blog. The headline is wrong. The gist is that blood flow to the brain diminishes in older competitive runners if they stop exercising for 10 days. Tests of cognitive function showed no deterioration.
Click the link below to read Gretchen’s article, which is brief. A snippet:
“Before you skip another workout, you might think about your brain. A provocative new study finds that some of the benefits of exercise for brain health may evaporate if we take to the couch and stop being active, even just for a week or so.
I have frequently written about how physical activity, especially endurance exercise like running, aids our brains and minds. Studies with animals and people show that working out can lead to the creation of new neurons, blood vessels and synapses and greater overall volume in areas of the brain related to memory and higher-level thinking.
Presumably as a result, people and animals that exercise tend to have sturdier memories and cognitive skills than their sedentary counterparts.
Exercise prompts these changes in large part by increasing blood flow to the brain, many exercise scientists believe. Blood carries fuel and oxygen to brain cells, along with other substances that help to jump-start desirable biochemical processes there, so more blood circulating in the brain is generally a good thing.”
Source: Brain Benefits of Exercise Diminish After Short Rest – The New York Times
I believe regular physical activity does help preserve brain function over time. But there’s more involved than blood flow.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: I bet your brain blood flow increases, compared to watching Dancing With the Stars on TV, if you read one of my books.