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High intensity interval training 'makes people smarter'

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A new study by Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) in Canada has suggested that high-intensity interval training makes middle-aged people not only healthier but smarter.

MBI studied a group of people who all had a body-mass index (BMI) between 28 and 31 (overweight) in addition to one or more other cardiovascular risk factor.

As well as charting physical improvements, the researches measured cognitive function over the four-month period.

Dr Anil Nigam, who lead the study, said: "Cognitive function, VO2max and brain oxygenation during exercise testing revealed that the participants' cognitive functions had greatly improved thanks to the exercise."

VO2max is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It impacts on the body's ability to oxygenate the brain and is related to cognitive function.

Nigam added: "Our participants underwent a battery of cognitive, biological and physiological tests before the programme began in order to determine their cognitive functions, body composition, cardiovascular risk, brain oxygenation during exercise and maximal aerobic capacity.

"After the program was finished, we discovered that their waist circumference and particularly their trunk fat mass had decreased. We also found that their VO2max and insulin sensitivity had increased significantly, in tandem with their score on the cognitive tests and the oxygenation signals in the brain during exercise."

The cognitive tests included tasks such as remembering pairs of numbers and symbols. To see what was actually happening in the brain, the researchers used near-infra red spectroscopy, a technique that works with light sent though human tissue that reacts with oxygen in the blood.

To read more on the report's findings, click here.

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A new study by Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) in Canada has suggested that high-intensity interval training makes middle-aged people not only healthier but smarter.
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