High intensity interval training (HIIT) may prevent cognitive decline

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Scientists from the University of Queensland found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be doing more than just keeping you fit and strong—it may also help prevent age-related cognitive illnesses, such as dementia.

They found that high-intensity interval exercise may be more effective than continuous exercise in increasing brain blood flow in older adults.

The research is published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and was conducted by Dr. Tom Bailey et al.

While high-intensity interval training was popular for improving heart health, its effect on brain health and function wasn’t clear.

In the study, the team compared the brain blood flow in younger and older men during both continuous and interval exercise.

Interval exercise is characterized by short bouts of intense activity separated by rest periods.

The team found that interval-based exercise was as effective as continuous exercise for increasing brain blood flow in older adults during periods of activity.

The interval-based exercise was more effective than continuous exercise when they measured the overall blood flow increases during both the exercise and the rest periods.

The benefits of exercise on brain function are thought to be caused by the increase in blood flow and shear stress, the frictional force of blood along the lining of the arteries, which occurs during exercise.

This study aimed to identify the type or format of exercise that causes the greatest increases in brain blood flow, so researchers could help to optimize exercise programs to enhance brain function.

While this study focused on short-term increases in brain blood flow, the team says the next step was to investigate the benefits of interval exercise on brain health in the long term.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about how oral health may affect your heart, brain, and 13 things your doctor can check to help protect brain health.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that exercise could help reduce brain inflammation, and results showing this common food may reduce vascular disease in the brain.

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