Being lazy in middle age has been linked with having a smaller brain in later life. Scientists looked at the brains and fitness levels of more than 1,000 people when they were 40, and then again 20 years later.
The findings, published in the journal Neurology, showed that those with poorer fitness levels – carried out through a treadmill test – in middle age generally had a smaller brain volumes two decades later, and that the amount the brain had shrunk correlated with how unfit the person was.
The team, from the Boston University School of Medicine is the US, established how fit a person was by looking at how much oxygen the body was capable of using in one minute. This is also known as ‘peak VO2’. They estimated the VO2 by looking at the length of time participants were able to exercise on the treadmill before their heart rate reached a given level.