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Couch potato-ness turns brains into mush

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Washington : Lazing around can be fun, but couch potato-ness can actually put you at the risk of having a smaller brain later in life, according a new study.

Providing a dig in the ribs to get off the sofa, the Boston University study linked poor physical fitness in middle age to a smaller brain size 20 years later.

Study author Nicole Spartano said that they found a direct correlation in their study between poor fitness and brain volume decades later, which indicates accelerated brain aging.

The study also showed that people whose blood pressure and heart rate went up at a higher rate during exercise also were more likely to have smaller brain volumes two decades later. Spartano said that people with poor physical fitness often have higher blood pressure and heart rate responses to low levels of exercise compared to people with better fitness.

Spartano noted that the study is observational. It does not prove that poor physical fitness causes a loss of brain volume; it shows the association.

She continued that these results suggest that fitness in middle age may be particularly important for the many millions of people around the world who already have evidence of heart disease.

The study is published online in Neurology. (ANI)

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