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October 16, 2016 at 2:03 am #25167
Interesting article from earlier this year.
For the first time, scientists compared head-to-head the neurological impacts of different types of exercise: running, weight training and high-intensity interval training. The surprising results suggest that going hard may not be the best option for long-term brain health.
They found very different levels of neurogenesis, depending on how each animal had exercised.
Those rats that had jogged on wheels showed robust levels of neurogenesis. Their hippocampal tissue teemed with new neurons, far more than in the brains of the sedentary animals. The greater the distance that a runner had covered during the experiment, the more new cells its brain now contained.
There were far fewer new neurons in the brains of the animals that had completed high-intensity interval training. They showed somewhat higher amounts than in the sedentary animals but far less than in the distance runners.
And the weight-training rats, although they were much stronger at the end of the experiment than they had been at the start, showed no discernible augmentation of neurogenesis. Their hippocampal tissue looked just like that of the animals that had not exercised at all.
Obviously, rats are not people. But the implications of these findings are provocative. They suggest, said Miriam Nokia, a research fellow at the University of Jyvaskyla who led the study, that “sustained aerobic exercise might be most beneficial for brain health also in humans.”
I’m glad I ran 5 miles today.
But to be honest, when you exercise as much as I do these days, whether it is high intensity interval training or resistance training, at the same time, it’s endurance training to work at it for so long.
Here’s a link to the full study:
Nokia, M. S., Lensu, S., Ahtiainen, J. P., Johansson, P. P., Koch, L. G., Britton, S. L. and Kainulainen, H. (2016), Physical exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in male rats provided it is aerobic and sustained. J Physiol, 594: 1855–1873. doi:10.1113/JP271552 http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP271552
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