25 Minutes Of Exercise Can Improve Knowledge

balance training

Sara Thompson – M.Sc. in Exercise Science

In my previous article, I discussed the use of exercise to improve physical and cognitive function in individuals with hypertension.

In this study, Junior and colleagues (Junior et al., 2017) measured improvements in physical function in older individuals with normotension (normal blood pressure) and hypertension (high blood pressure) following a 6-month multicomponent exercise program.

The Exercise Program

  1. Aerobic training

  2. Strength training

  3. Balance/proprioception

The program suggests that a multi-faceted exercise approach is a feasible strategy to improve physical function in the aging population. However, there were no improvements in executive function following the 6-month program.

The researchers acknowledge that while there is evidence that exercise can improve cognition, the mechanism behind this is not a well understood, and to date the optimal stimulus to elicit benefits in cognitive function remains unclear.

Related Article: Exercise Program For High Blood Pressure

A recent study

lat pulldownThe study aimed to test the effects of different training modalities on cognitive function (Dunsky et al., 2017). To determine if different facets of cognition respond differently to different stimuli, the researchers assessed both executive function and attention. Unlike the study by Junior et al., Dunsky and colleagues assessed the acute effects of exercise on measurements of cognition.

Thirty-nine healthy adults with a mean age of 52±8 years participated in this study.

In order to control for exercise intensity, participants first performed a maximal exercise test to determine their maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max). In this way, exercise intensity during the assessment was based on the individual’s fitness level.

Similarly, participants’ one repetition maximum (1RM: the maximum weight an individual can lift for one full repetition) was pre-determined for 6 resistance exercises.

On three separate occasions, participants performed a cognitive test before and after three different conditions:

  1. Aerobic exercise

  2. Resistance exercise

  3. Control session in which participants watched a video while seated

The Aerobic Exercise

25 minutes of treadmill walking at an intensity of 60% of their heart rate reserve (HRR: their maximum heart rate determined during the maximal exercise test minus their resting heart rate).

The Resistance Exercise

The resistance exercise was intended to be similar intensity and duration as the aerobic exercise. Participants completed 10 repetitions of each exercise at 75% of their 1RM, targeting the major muscle groups: chest press, leg press, lat pull down, seated row, seated squat, and shoulder press. Executive function and attention were assessed before and after each condition with a series of neuropsychological tests commonly used to assess cognitive function. Attention was assessed based on the reaction time to certain stimuli, whereas executive function was assessed by motor planning, hand-eye coordination and accuracy of each task.

The Aerobic Results

Following aerobic exercise, participants improved their attention and executive function compared to the control condition.

The Resistance Results

Following resistance exercise, participants improved their executive function compared to the control condition, however did not improve their attention score.

The authors suggest that the reason for this discrepancy could be because heart rate was not elevated enough to increase blood flow to the brain during the resistance exercise. The aim of the resistance exercise was to elicit a similar stimulus as aerobic exercise, however participants’ heart rate was lower both during and after the resistance exercise session compared to aerobic exercise. The authors also discuss that aerobic exercise might activate different regions of the brain compared to resistance exercise, and that these brain regions are associated with the different facets of cognitive function.

Takeaway

The main finding of this study is that acute aerobic and acute resistance exercise improves executive function. Aerobic exercise appears to also improve attention, however it remains to be determined if this is due to differences in intensity or modality. As we know, aerobic and resistance exercise are important for general health so both should be incorporated into your daily lifestyle.

Most significantly, improvements in cognitive function occurred after only one 25-minute bout of exercise. That isn’t a big time out of your day, and you’ll feel energized both physically and mentally!

Related Article: 90 Seconds A Day Of HIIT Might Be All You Need


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

You Might Like:

Mother and daughter walking

Gait Speed and Longevity: What You Need to Know

Despite aging being a normal part of everyday life, it is still something that strikes fear into the hearts of most. “But why” I hear you ask? Mainly because in modern day aging is also...
Meditation in the outdoors

Meditation and Visualization for Athletes

Over the last few years, there has been a huge increase in the use of mediation and visualization across the globe.  We have recently realized that meditation can play a role in improving athletic performance....
Aerobic Exercise and Learning

Does Aerobic Exercise Improve Learning?

This article was adapted from a combination of speeches given at the European Sports Science Conference 2018, most notably Einat Kodesh (UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA, ISRAEL).  Dayton Kelly Exercise has demonstrated numerous benefits to cognitive function...
Reducing-Anxiety

Three Types of Exercise for Reducing Anxiety

Most of us have experienced anxiety at one time or another. Whether it be jitters about starting a new job, increased heart rate before a big presentation or exam, or general uneasiness and nerves when...
downhill skier

4 Ways to Overcome Sports Performance Anxiety

Alyssa Bialowas Competition anxiety is common in athletes, especially if they struggle to deliver performance. It’s the feeling of stress and pressure right before a competition that can be harmful to athletes and if it’s...


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

References

Junior, H. J. C., Rodrigues, B., Feriani, D. J., Gonçalves, I., Asano, R. Y. et al. (2017).  Effects of Multicomponent Exercise on Functional and Cognitive Parameters of Hypertensive Patients: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Journal of Aging Research, Mar 19 [Epub ahead of print].

Dunsky, A., Abu-Rukun, M., Tsuk, S., Dwolatzky, T. Carasso, R., & Netz, Y. (2017). The effects of a resistance vs. an aerobic single session on attention and executive functioning in adults. PLos One, 12(4), e0176092.

Gender Differences in Concussion Diagnosis and Treatment

Gender Differences in Concussion Diagnosis and Treatment

Women playing soccer

Exercise Research is Underrepresented in Female Athletes

Brain health and nutrition

The Importance of Nutrition on Brain Health

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease- Could Irisin Be the Cure?

Men rowing

Cognitive Sports Training: How Can It Improve Performance?

Aerobic Exercise and Learning

Does Aerobic Exercise Improve Learning?

Reducing-Anxiety

Three Types of Exercise for Reducing Anxiety

people jumping

3 Benefits of Exercise and Mental Health

Female athlete

What is a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workout Anyway?

women high jumping

Do Ketogenic Diets Reduce Anaerobic Performance?

Leave a Reply