Scientific dogma has always been that we are born with a set number of brain cells and that we start to lose one to two percent of that part of the brain (the hippocampus) associated with a reduction in memory capacity, from late middle age.
New research however has shown that we can grow new cells via a process known as neurogenesis. Every day, hundreds of new brain cells are produced and about half will die within one or two weeks but research suggests that cell death is not inevitable.
Exercise increases a chemical that stimulates the growth of new cells and contributes to brain plasticity. Studies show that sedentary behaviour is a predictor of Alzheimer’s and that some 13 per cent of Alzheimer cases may be the result of inactivity. A minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity and strength training is the NHS guideline.
Sitting it seems, causes inflammation and may shrink the part of the brain tied to memory so taking a ten minute break from sitting every 50 minutes is highly recommended. Brain training, by mastering new skills which require high concentration and effort are also found to help. (www.brain.health)