JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Older adults can still improve memory with high intensity exercise

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Just 4 sets of four-minute-long bursts of intense exercise was all it took for sedentary people aged 60 -88 to get an improvement in memory scores of up to 30%.

They worked out three times a week for 3 months, and the short sharp sets were better than 50 minutes of moderate exercise. Five hundred million years of evolution will do that — hone organisms to adapt to common stressors. And even if don’t need to outrun lions very often now, we still carry the genes that did.

This won’t surprise people who’ve been reading medical research papers.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) appears to be good for fat loss, anxiety, depression, improves blood vessel function, may slow Parkinsons, and colon cancer, is quicker, can restore glucose uptake in diabetic muscles in just two weeks.

Obviously the 30% memory boost mostly happens to people who start out sedentary. There may not be such spectacular gains for people who are already semi fit. But it only took 12 weeks.

Researchers at McMaster University who examine the impact of exercise on the brain have found that high-intensity workouts improve memory in older adults.

Researchers [...]