3 Ways Your Couch Time Is Hurting Your Brain

A man sitting on a couch with a laptop on his lap
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Sitting for hours each day is doing your brain and body no favors. Everything from your memory to your muscles to your life span itself is negatively affected by long stretches of inactivity.

Too much couch time can also:

1. Affect your mood. Feeling down? It could be the hours you spend chained to your desk chair. Sitting more than six hours a day caused moderate distress among men and moderate to high distress among women, compared with workers who sat less than three hours a day, Australian researchers found. To counter that, take a mood-lifting walk on your lunch break or a stress-relieving exercise class after work.

2. Spike your blood sugar. Too much sitting and not enough moving affects your blood sugar level, according to a 2017 University of Florida study. Data from more than 1,000 slender adults indicated that those who got little physical activity were more likely to have a blood sugar level of 5.7 or higher, which is considered prediabetes by the American Diabetes Association. A number of studies have linked high blood sugar to problems with thinking and memory.

3. Increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Couch potatoes, beware: You could be increasing your risk of brain disease. Physical inactivity is one of the top seven risk factors for Alzheimer’s and the easiest one to change. Getting 20 minutes of vigorous activity three or more days a week, or even a 30-minute brisk walk five days a week, could help cut your risk of Alzheimer’s by 20 percent.

Take a brain health assessment, play games, discover new recipes and more with AARP’s Staying Sharp.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

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