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CAN HIIT help prevent dementia?

CAN HIIT help prevent dementia?

Dementia is scary. It has a huge impact on people and families, so of course you want to reduce your risk.

Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. Research shows that exercise – particularly high intensity workouts – can help stave off dementia. And it’s never too late to start.

WHAT CAUSES DEMENTIA?

It’s caused by damage to brain cells, particularly in the areas that control memory, consciousness and language. This is often due to an abnormal protein which surrounds and damages the cells, causing Alzheimer’s. Blood flow to the brain decreases as we age and this can also increase the risk of dementia.

WHAT DOES THE LATEST RESEARCH SHOW?

Researchers in Canada recently examined more than 1,600 adults who were dementia-free. Just like the general population, 25 percent had a genetic risk factor for dementia but 75 percent didn’t.

The results showed that the inactive participants had the same risk of dementia as those who were genetically predisposed. This means a risky sedentary lifestyle will cancel out a healthy set of genes. Be warned!

HOW CAN EXERCISE HELP?

Exercise appears to help the brain regenerate new neurons in the brain. It increases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BSNF), which ‘fertilises’ the brain to help grow more newborn neurons. The more newborn neurons we have, the richer and more accurate our memories.

THE SWEATIER THE BETTER

The research suggests that just keeping active isn’t enough. You need to work hard!  

The adults in the Canadian study participated in three cardio sessions a week, either HIIT or moderate-intensity training. Only the adults who did HIIT had substantial improvements in their neurogenesis-dependent memory. In fact, there was no improvement at all for the other groups.

Why?

Scientists believe that forcefully pushing more blood towards the brain is the way to avoid dementia.  HIIT is all about putting maximum effort in over a short space of time – guaranteed to get the blood pumping faster! Plus, with HIIT the effects also continue during the rest periods too.

I’M ALREADY 50/UNFIT/FORGETFUL – CAN I BE HELPED?

It’s never too late to start. And you’re never too unfit to benefit. HIIT is different for everyone: it can be jogging for one person and fast cycling to another. The common factor is effort.

Ready to reduce your risk? Use a Monthly +Pass to get you started. Do it now. Before you forget!  

Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

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