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SIX MINUTES of daily exercise may be enough to ward off Alzheimer’s

SIX MINUTES of daily exercise may be enough to ward off Alzheimer’s

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SIX MINUTES of daily exercise may be enough to ward off Alzheimer’s

  • Scientists from the University of Otago in New Zealand analyzed 12 people
  • They are investigating how to stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Short bursts of intense exercise boost BDNF most effectively, experts have found

Just six minutes of high-intensity exercise a day can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’snew research shows.

Scientists have found that short bursts of intense physical activity can extend the life of a healthy brain and slow cognitive decline.

The team from the University of Otago in New Zealandrecruited 12 people as part of their study.

They wanted to find the best way to stimulate the production of a particular protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

The results of the study, published in The Journal of Physiology, revealed that brief but vigorous exercise was the most effective way to increase BDNF, as it increased up to five times compared to those who fasted or did light exercise

This protein is now known to be essential for brain formation, learning and memory and promotes the brain’s ability to form new connections and pathways.

Animal studies show that increasing the availability of BDNF promotes the formation and storage of memories, improves learning, and enhances cognitive performance.

WHAT IS HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING?

HIIT describes any workout that involves a short burst of high-intensity exercise followed by short, low-intensity activity, repeatedly.

Average exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and the duration of each depends on the exercise, but it can be as few as three repetitions with only 20 seconds of intense exercise.

There is no specific formula for HIIT. A common method involves a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery periods, for example 30-40 seconds of vigorous sprinting, alternating with 15-20 seconds of jogging or walking, repeated until failure.

An entire HIIT session can last between four and 30 minutes, meaning it’s considered a good way to maximize a workout in a short amount of time.

However, pharmaceutical interventions – such as taking drugs – have not been able to successfully increase the amount of BDNF produced by the human body.

Participants were closely analyzed as they took four different possible ways to increase protein.

This included fasting for 20 hours, 90 minutes of low-intensity cycling, a six-minute period of vigorous exercise consisting of 40 seconds of cycling and 20 seconds of rest, or a combination of fasting and exercise.

The results, published in The Journal of Physiology, revealed that brief but vigorous exercise was the most effective way to increase BDNF, increasing up to five times compared to those who fasted or did light exercise.

The researchers suggest that this may be because intense exercise increases the number of platelets – which store large amounts of protein – that are released from the body.

Lead author Travis Gibbons said: “BDNF has shown great promise in animal models, but pharmaceutical interventions have so far failed to safely harness the protective power of BDNF in humans.

“We saw the need to explore non-pharmacological approaches that can preserve the brain’s capacity that people can use to naturally increase BDNF to support healthy aging.”

A recent study also found that one-minute bursts of daily activity, such as running for the bus, can help extend life.

Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Center found that just three to four short spells of huffing and puffing during daily tasks were associated with a 40% reduction in early death.

It is also associated with up to a 49% reduction in the risk of death related to cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke.

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HOW MANY EXERCISES ARE REQUIRED

To stay healthy, adults ages 19 to 64 should try to be active every day and should:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking each week and
  • strength training 2 or more days a week that works all major muscles (legs, thighs, back, abs, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or playing singles tennis each week and
  • strength training 2 or more days a week that works all major muscles (legs, thighs, back, abs, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity each week – for example 2 x 30 minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equals 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength training 2 or more days a week that works all major muscles (legs, thighs, back, abs, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week is to do 30 minutes 5 days each week.

All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.

source: NHS


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