Many studies have shown that including some physical activity in your daily routine can alter your brain cells in a healthy way. But did you know that remaining inactive can actually work the other way round?

Doing any physical activity or exercise prompts the creation of new brain cells and induces other changes such as release of the hormone –endorphin, which is considered to be the ‘happiness’ hormone. But according to scientists at the Wayne State University School of Medicine conducting a new study, which was recently published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, research done on rats proved that being inactive can also change the shape of certain neurons cells in the brain.

The study was done on dozens of rats in which researchers put half of them in cages with running wheels and let the animals run at will and the other half were housed in cages without wheels and were left inactive. After almost three months, the animals in both sets of cages were injected with a special dye that colors certain neurons in the brain. This was done to mark neurons in the animals’ rostral ventrolateral medulla, a portion of the brain that controls breathing and other unconscious activities central to our existence.

When the scientists looked inside the brains of the rats they found noticeable differences between the two groups. There was a difference in the shape of some of the neurons in that region of the brain. The scientists established that the neurons in the brains of the running rats were still shaped much as they had been at the start of the study and were functioning normally. But many of the neurons in the brains of the sedentary rats had changed their shape.

Being inactive also increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and various other chronic disorders. To continue remaining active, try to include some of the following habits in your daily routine:

1. Instead of using an escalator or lift, use stairs. 2. Keep moving at regular basis, if you have a desk job. Instead of spending hours sitting at a same place, take a break in between and go for a small walk. 3. If you have a sedentary working style then instead of shooting an email or text message, get up and go and meet the concerned person if that’s possible. 4. Standing helps you in burning more calories as compared to sitting. So make a habit of standing or moving while you talk on the phone. 5. If not a workout, at least include a brisk walk or light run in your daily routine. Or play an active sport of your choice.

Also, always include healthy and balanced diet in your routine to keep your brain healthy.