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Is driving making you more stupid?

Driving for a long time can be boring and now, according to a new scientific study, it seems it could also be making you less intelligent.

Bad news if you drive a lot. Researchers from the University of Leicester conducted a study on how sedentary behaviour effects brainpower and found that Brits who drive for more than two hours a day tended to have a lower IQ.

More than 500,000 Brits aged between 37 and 73 took part in the five-year study, which involved intelligence and memory tests.

The 93,000 who drove two to three hours a day had lower brainpower at the start of the study and saw a faster rate of decline than those who did little or no driving at all.

Middle-aged drivers who spent a lot of time in the car saw the fastest decrease, according to the results.

The findings are said to mirror what happens to those who watch television for more than three hours per day.

“We know that regularly driving for more than two to three hours a day is bad for your heart. This research suggests it is bad for your brain, too, perhaps because your mind is less active in those hours,” Kishan Bakrania, a University of Leicester medical epidemiologist, told the Independent.

Bakrania added: “Cognitive decline is measurable over five years because it can happen fast in middle-aged and older people. This is associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking and bad diet ─ and now with time spent driving.

“Driving causes stress and fatigue, with studies showing the links between them and cognitive decline.”

Can you undo the damage besides driving less? Bakrania suggested looking at a different type of screen: “Cognitive skills were boosted in people who used computers up to two to three hours a day. When watching TV, your brain is less active but using a computer is stimulating.”

So there you have it. Sitting down a lot – whether at home or in the car – could be making you stupid. Now if you’ll excuse us, Love Island is about to start…

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