It’s no secret that sedentary desk jobs contribute to decreased physical health, and now there’s an additional alarm being sounded. According to a study out of Michigan State University, people with a lower level of fitness have worse memory capabilities than healthier people do.
Venture Beat quotes Michigan State University assistant professor of psychology Kimberly Fenn as saying “The findings show that lower-fit individuals lose more memory across time,” and describes what the study entailed: “Study participants were asked to memorize word pairs until they could reliably remember at least a few groups. Then, after at least 24 hours, they were asked to perform the same memory test.”
The results? The article says that “Even after controlling for race, age, and IQ, participants who had fatter body compositions and less aerobic capacity (Vo2 max), performed worse a test of long-term memory.”
The piece recommends treadmill desks as a measure that can help prevent the kind of sedentary lifestyle that leads to those issues of memory, which is actually something that is backed up with solid science.
A 2012 article by Inc. points to a German study that found “an increase in arousal or activation associated with physical activity… which then can be invested into the cognition.” In other words, being in motion gives you more energy, which in turn enhances your thinking capabilities.
Even simply standing has been found to enhance health. An ongoing trend that is seeing more workers and offices adopt standing desks continued in 2014, with CTV News pointing out that this year saw “mainstream brands like IKEA getting on board and designers working on foldable, cardboard versions.”
A 2012 article by Wired pointed out that we spend about half of our waking time seated, and that standing desks are helpful because, as it quotes the Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s Professor Marc Hamilton, PhD, it is not possible to get enough exercise “counteract the effect of hours and hours of chair time.”
In short, if you value your mind, you have to value your body as well.