A SIX-MINUTE daily exercise that could be enough to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

A SIX-MINUTE daily exercise that could be enough to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

A SIX-MINUTE daily exercise that could be enough to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

A SIX-MINUTE daily exercise that could be enough to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

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

Just six minutes of high-intensity exercise a day could delay the onset Alzheimer’s diseasesuggests new research.

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

A team from the University of Otago in New Zealandthey recruited 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).

A SIX-MINUTE daily exercise that could be enough to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

The results of the study, published in The Journal of Physiology, found that short but vigorous exercise was the most effective way to increase BDNF, as it increased as much as fivefold compared to those who fasted or did light exercise.

It is already known that this protein is essential for the formation of the brain, learning and memory and stimulates the brain’s ability to create new connections and pathways.

Animal studies have shown that increased availability of BDNF promotes the formation and storage of memories, improves learning and strengthens cognitive abilities.

WHAT IS HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING?

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

Medium exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and the length of each one 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 hard sprinting alternating with 15-20 seconds of running or walking, repeating until failure.

A full HIIT session can last between four and 30 minutes, meaning it’s considered a good way to maximize your 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 scrutinized as they undertook four different possible ways to increase protein.

These included fasting for 20 hours, 90 minutes of low-intensity cycling, six minutes of intense 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, reveal that short but vigorous exercise is the most effective way to increase BDNF, as it increased as much as fivefold compared to those who fasted or did light exercise.

Researchers suggest this may be because intense exercise increases the number of platelets – which store large amounts of protein – released by 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 a need to explore non-pharmacological approaches that can preserve the capacity of the brain that people can use to naturally increase BDNF to aid in healthy ageing.’

A recent study also found that one-minute bursts of daily activity like 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 periods of huffing and puffing during daily tasks was associated with a 40 percent reduction in early death.

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

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HOW MANY EXERCISES DO YOU NEED?

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 work all major muscles (legs, hips, back, stomach, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a single game of tennis each week i
  • strength training 2 or more days a week that work all major muscles (legs, hips, back, stomach, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • a mix 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 work all major muscles (legs, hips, back, stomach, 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 achieve the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity is to exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week.

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

Source: NHS

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