2012-11-08 17:19:17 - It is generally accepted that sports benefit people’s fitness and health. But a brand new study reveals that high-intensity exercise makes people even smarter! During the four-month study, Canadian researchers investigated the effects of regular interval training on cognitive performance. At the end of the testing period, the scientists not only found that the subject’s stamina had considerably improved, but also their cognitive capacities.
The study’s program
The study, conducted at the University of Montreal in Canada, examined six male, untrained test persons on if and how high-intensity interval training influences brain activities. For this purpose, the participants underwent a series of cognitive, biological and physiological tests prior to the training program. In this process, several aspects had been examined, such as the flow of blood to the brain, heart rate, the blood’s oxygen content and memory capacity. Using these data, the researchers could draw conclusions in regard to the subject’s general, cognitive performance. Over a following time period of four months, the test persons exercised twice a week in the interval method, which means the training involved alternating between short periods of low and
high intensity. After the four months, the scientists tested again both the subject’s cognitive and physical condition.
Near-infrared spectroscopy shows improved brain activity
For the purpose of having an exact comparative examination of the brain activities before and after the four-month training program, the researchers used near-infrared spectroscopy to analyse the oxygen supply for the brain. With this technique, a probe, placed on the subject’s heads, measures how well the blood in the arteries absorbs infrared light, which depends on the blood’s oxygen content. At the end of the study’s program, there was not only the expected improvement of stamina, but also a significant increase of the brain’s oxygen supply. In addition, the results in the cognitive tests improved considerably. The scientists believe that the test persons’ brain activities benefitted when the health of their arteries improved.
Regular training for better physical and cognitive performance
According to the researchers, the “smart-effect” through sports was the strongest in the results of those test persons whose stamina improved the most and who lost the most weight. So regular, intensive training has not only a positive impact on fitness and health, but also on cognitive capacity. Those who want to bring more continuity into their personal running training can also get the needed support and motivation digitally. The JogStyle from Omron Healthcare, for example, in addition to measuring running data, such as current and average speed, distance and time, also measures the intensity indicators, like burned fat and calories. With the memory function, users can monitor, analyse and improve their performance ideally. Thereby, the sporty step to more fitness with higher cognitive performance is made more easily.
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