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Study Asks: Does Exercise Benefit the Brain?

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In a study two groups took a memory quiz. Then one group cycled to exhaustion in 30 minutes and the other group sat there. Their memories were then retested. The result:

“The exercised volunteers performed significantly better on the memory test than they had on their first try, while the volunteers who had rested did not
improve” – quote from the NY Times article How Exercise Benefits The Brain.

They also took blood samples throughout the experiment. They found that: “The cyclists had significantly higher levels of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is known to promote the health of nerve cells. The men who had sat quietly showed no comparable change in BDNF levels.”

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Study: High Intensity training beneficial and safe for those with heart disease

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New research examines the question of whether high-intensity exercise is beneficial for heart disease patients. The result:

“The four studies, which were composed of patients who either had acute coronary syndrome or angina pectoris, confirmed previous findings that high-intensity exercise is safe, even for patients with CHD” – quote is from this article High-Intensity Exercise for People With Heart Disease.

Another quote from the article:

"When we compared VO2max before and after the training period, we found that the number of training sessions, the subject's age or baseline fitness levels had no impact, but the intensity of the intervals had a significant effect, and seems to be the most important characteristic of an effective interval session.”

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Exercise and Brain Health

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From the article Get Moving for a Health Brain in the September 2013 AARP Bulletin these quotes:

The latest research shows that cognitive decline is not inevitable…the brain continues to make new neurons and fine tune neural connections as we live…Aerobic exercise jumps-tarts that process and slashes your lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s’ in half and general dementia by 60 %.

And this:

Exercise boosts the flow of blood to the brain, spurring the release of what has been dubbed Miracle-Gro for the brain – brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This chemical stimulates the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus, the area involved in memory, learning and the ability to plan and make decisions. BDNF also repairs cell damage and strengthens
synapses.

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Brief Bouts of High Intensity Training Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake

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From this study, Low-and High-Volume of Intensive Endurance Training Significantly Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake after Ten Weeks of Training in Healthy Men comes this quote:

“Our study demonstrated that slightly overweight and healthy individuals only required brief, duration bouts of exercise with good effort three times a week, to produce large increases in VO2max and work economy and reduce blood pressure and fasting glucose levels.”

And this:

“The present study demonstrates that a relatively intense stimulus administered only once and for a relatively short duration can substantially improve VO2max and work economy. A single bout of 4-minute interval training three times per week will not solve all lifestyle-related problems for people already obese or overweight, and it is not the only solution for inactive persons with a BMI below 25.”

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High intensity activity affects fat loss

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From this study, Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity and Weight Outcomes: Does Every Minute Count? comes this quote:

"What we learned is that for preventing weight gain, the intensity of the activity matters more than duration," says Jessie X. Fan, professor of family and consumer studies at the U. "This new understanding is important because fewer than 5 percent of American adults today achieve the recommended level of physical activity in a week according to the current physical activity guidelines. Knowing that even short bouts of 'brisk' activity can add up to a positive effect is an encouraging message for promoting better health."