Health Club Management Handbook 2018

Page 84


Science snapshots We round up some of the latest research in the area of health, fitness and wellbeing

AEROBIC ADVANTAGE Physical activity has been shown to increase brain volume and reduce age-related brain deterioration, but what are the effects of different types of exercise? Dr Miriam Nokia, a research fellow at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, specifically examined adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) – the creation of new brain cells in an adult brain – against two anaerobic forms of exercise: resistance training and high intensity interval training (HIIT). “The majority of studies have looked at how aerobic exercise affects AHN,” Dr Nokia said. “We wanted to also study 84

Health Club Handbook 2018

the effects of anaerobic exercise and HIIT training, as these forms of physical activity are very popular among humans.” Eighty-eight rats were divided into four groups: one group ran at will on a running wheel; the ‘resistance’ group climbed a wall with weights attached to their tails; the HIIT group alternated between a 3-minute sprint and a 2-minute walk on treadmills for a total of 15 minutes of sprinting; and the control group was sedentary. After seven weeks, the running group showed a much higher level of neurogenesis than the sedentary group, whereas the anaerobic group showed no difference from the sedentary group. Interestingly, the HIIT group showed a much lower level of

neurogenesis than the running group. “According to our current results, voluntary and sustained aerobic exercise is most beneficial for the brain, at least in terms of adult hippocampal neurogenesis,” Dr Nokia confirmed. “It was surprising that the effects of HIIT and resistance training on AHN were so modest.” As similar changes in blood flow take place in the hippocampi of both rodents and humans, it’s plausible that aerobic exercise would be most beneficial for AHN. Nokia M.S., et al. Physical exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in male rats provided it is aerobic and sustained. The Journal of Physiology. Vol. 594, Issue 7, 2016



Sustained aerobic exercise appears to benefit the brain the most

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