What Happens to Your Mind When You Stop Exercising?

By Prince Agol, 20/20 LifeStyles Research Coordinator

Missing a workout occasionally is not something to panic about, but consistently skipping exercise may have big effects on many aspects of your health. It’s important to recognize when to get back to a routine to not lose the progress you’ve worked toward.


There’s a part of our mind that is responsible for encoding, storing, and retrieving information known as our memory. We use our memory continuously throughout our daily lives to operate within our society. It is for this reason that we find it necessary to preserve our memory. There are many ways to do this from improving sleep, to optimizing nutrition, or simply using our brain more. However, another simple fix that is often overlooked would be improvement through exercise.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain. This blood carries nutrients that support the formation of new synapses that mediate learning and memory. A study that was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease documenting long term memory and cerebral blood flow. The group that participated in twelve months of aerobic exercise showed an increase in blood flow to the brain. As a result, they also showed a 47% improvement in memory scores. This is an impressive growth in memory retention, but if exercise stops, the benefits will begin to disappear.

Researchers at the University of Maryland scanned the brains of older athletes and discovered that after a 10-day break from exercise, blood flow to the brain decreased significantly. Learning and memory retention becomes increasingly difficult, the longer one is away from exercise. However, knowing this information, we can begin taking measures to not only keep the memory we already have, but to also make it stronger than it was before.

PRO Club’s personal trainers are experts at developing progressive enjoyable program designs and are available to members. Contact Call (425) 885-5566 or email personaltraining@proclub.com to get scheduled today.

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