High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) may stave off cognitive decline according to a new study.
High Intensity Interval training is a popular exercise trend, voted one of the top three fitness trends for 2019 in a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Now it turns out that this popular workout style – which involves short bursts of intense exercise interspersed with rest periods – may be the key to staving off age-related cognitive decline.
A new study led by Dr. Tom Bailey at the University of Queensland has found that HIIT may be more effective than continuous exercise at increasing brain blood flow in older men.
“As we age, the flow of blood to the brain and arterial function decreases,” said Dr. Bailey, a research fellow from the Centre for Research on Exercise, Physical Activity and Health at UQ’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, in a statement. “These factors have been linked to a risk of cognitive decline and cardiovascular events, such as stroke.
“Finding ways to increase brain blood flow and function in older adults is vital.”
The study is reportedly the first of its kind to compare brain blood flow in younger and older men during both continuous and HIIT exercise. And one of the key findings is that both the exercise and the rest periods play roles in increasing brain blood flow.
“This study shows that interval-based exercise was as effective as continuous exercise for increasing brain blood flow in older adults during the periods of activity, and more effective than continuous exercise when we measured the overall blood flow increases during both the exercise and the rest periods,” said Dr. Bailey.
Separate research also recently found that living a healthy lifestyle may offset the risk of dementia. Researchers examined lifestyle categories, including diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption and found that healthy behaviours were associated with a reduced dementia risk across all genetic risk groups.
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