Just like you might do bicep curls to focus on building your arm muscles, it appears that there are certain exercise routines that are better for brain health than others.
In a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, researchers reviewed 12 different experiments involving 128 people designed to monitor changes in the brain during period of exercise. In the study, all of the exercise routines involved either a stationary bike or treadmill, but the intensity and time varied.
Some used 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), others used 25 minutes of “moderate intensity” continuous exercise, and others tried a low intensity, continuous 20-minute session.
“We found that high-intensity interval training, or moderate intensity continuous training, resulted in the greatest benefits for the brain,” said study co-author Ashleigh Smith, a senior research fellow at the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia. The continued implementation of HIIT exercises resulted in increased responsiveness of neuro activity.
Scientists have even studied the effects of HIIT on aging at a cellular level in research published in the European Heart Journal. The study compared the effects of different forms of exercise, including weight lifting, aerobic exercise, and HIIT on parts of human chromosomes.
At the end of a 26-week study period, individuals who did aerobic or strength training saw no change in telomere length. The HIIT group saw a “two-fold” increase in length.
“I think there’s truly [a lot] of positives to [HIIT]. I think it’s fantastic for people who are already somewhat trained, somewhat athletic,” said Dr. Jeffrey Schildhorn, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital.
According to this study, you should add endurance and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine. These exercises keep your heart rate up and can keep your cells younger for longer!
Links to further reading: