Six Minutes to a Healthy Brain
In this edition, six minutes of exercise boosts brain health, a simple solution to avoid prolonged sitting and your weekly recommendations.
Six Minutes to a Healthy Brain. A new study asserts that six minutes of intense aerobic exercise per day may be one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy.
The association between healthy brain aging and exercise is not new but exactly how exercise helps the brain has been unclear so a team of researchers set out to understand the connection. They focused on a specific protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is a molecule involved in the growth, function and survival of brain cells. It has also been found to improve memory.
To uncover how fasting and exercise influences the production of BDNF, the researchers tested the BDNF responses of 12 healthy volunteers to four different interventions: fasting for 20 hours, low intensity cycling for 90 minutes, high-intensity cycling for six minutes and a combination of fasting and low-intensity exercise.
The team reports that “six minutes of high-intensity cycling intervals increased every metric of circulating BDNF by 4 to 5 times more than prolonged low-intensity cycling.”
The study was only looking at how exercise and/or fasting affects plasma BDNF levels so any interpretation regarding dementia or brain aging would be speculative. But, it does add important new information on how to maintain the aging brain.
5 Every 30. Sitting less and moving more is a common theme in exercise research but exactly how often do we need to get up from our chair and for how long? A study from exercise physiologists at Columbia University has the answer. Five minutes of walking every half hour can offset some of the harmful effects of prolonged sitting.
The team studied five exercise options: one minute of walking every 30 minutes of sitting, one minute every 60, five minutes every 30, five minutes every 60 and no walking. Eleven adults participated in the lab based study, sitting in a chair for eight hours and getting up only for their specific option.
Five minutes of walking every 30 minutes was the only amount of time that significantly lowered blood sugar and blood pressure. This option also reduced blood sugar spikes by 58% compared with sitting all day. All of the walking regimens, except walking one minute every hour, showed decreases in fatigue and improvements in mood.
The Climb. Rock climbing gets the reality competition treatment in this new series from executive producers Jason Mamoa and Chris Sharma. The actor and the legendary rock climber oversee a group of amateur climbers who are put through a series of mental and physical challenges on some of the sport’s most intimidating ascents. The winner gets a prAna sponsorship and $100,000. The Climb is streaming now on HBO Max.
The Lucas Rockwood Show. This podcast focuses on yoga, mindfulness and related topics but it’s more than just yoga chat. Its aim is to help you live a well-balanced life and topics include focus, aging, exercise, diet and common health issues.
How to Reframe Your Relationship With Exercise. In this piece for Romper, Danielle Friedman investigates how reframing our relationship with fitness impacts our overall well-being. She speaks with leading fitness professionals who offer their advice on how you can begin to exercise on your own terms and “find joy along the way.”