Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

This is your brain on the couch……….

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I love the fact that my husband, clients and readers are always sending me great articles about exercising and its effects. In this blog, I’ve combined articles with related content about exercise as medicine, the dangers of being sedentary and how inactivity changes our brain.

We all know that exercise can change our clarity of thinking, overall health, cholesterol levels, mood and longevity. Most of us know that it has a positive effect on how efficiently our hearts pump and how well our nervous systems work More current research has noted that exercise increases insulin sensitivity, reduces body fat, inflammation and certain hormonal imbalances.. A recent study that cross referenced patients who received medications vs. those who were on a consistent exercise regimen revealed that exercise was just as effective as medication for many people with heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Only those patients with heart failure had better results with medication over exercise. Read the full article here:

Studies have shown that time spent on the couch actually reduces life span by up to two years. A Mayo Clinic article looks at the amount of hours spent sitting and its correlation to mortality rates. Check out the article here:

Causes of this reduced mortality include increased rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  This study provides some of the science behind these facts, and has revealed that even if we objectively know we feel better when we exercise, it can also have major effects on our brain all the way down to the cellular level.

In this study, inactivity caused the nerve cells in mice to sprout too many dendrites, which are the receptors for neural activity. The result was that disorganized and excessive messages were sent to regulatory systems, thus causing spikes in body temperature, and constriction and dilation of blood vessels. The net effect is that it can lead to heart disease and shorter life spans.


This is yet another reason why you should exercise regularly. Not only will your body thank you, now your brain will too!


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