Over the last few years, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, has become one of the most popular training protocols in the world of health and fitness. The number of people performing HIIT-based workouts on a weekly basis is now higher than ever, and it’s easy to see why. HIIT is quick, it is one of the most effective ways of burning fat, and it is very versatile. What people often tend to overlook, however, is the fact that HIIT has been found to provide a series of cognitive health benefits on the brain. The brain is one of the most important organs in the body and keeping it fit and healthy is vital. HIIT has been found to improve short and long-term memory and cognitive function in general. Here’s a look at how HIIT exercises and workouts can help improve brain health and function.
HIIT increases circulation
One of the main benefits of HIIT is the fact that it has been found to increase blood circulation within the body. This basically means that it allows more blood to be carried around the body. What does this have to do with brain health? Well, oxygen and nutrients are carried around our bodies in our bloodstreams, so the more blood that is pumping around the body, the more oxygen and nutrients are being carried with it. The brain requires oxygen and certain nutrients, I.E amino acids, to function. The more oxygen the brain has available, the healthier and more productive it becomes. Increasing concentrations of oxygen in the brain helps boost memory, concentration levels, and mental clarity so you can think clearer.
HIIT promotes a healthy brain
Another reason why HIIT is so beneficial for the brain is that it has been found to help promote brain health and function in a variety of different ways. For example, HIIT exercise reduces inflammation in the brain, that can cause lapses in focus, impaired memory, and impaired cognitive function. What’s more, severe inflammation in the brain is thought to be a catalyst for more serious degenerative diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
That’s not all, however, as HIIT also helps to stimulate the synthesis and secretion of ‘growth factors’. What are growth factors? They’re specialist chemicals in the brain stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and play essential roles in the health and maintenance of brain cells. Put simply, they help keep brain cells fit, healthy, and functional. This again improves memory, both short and long-term. In one study conducted at Canada’s McMaster University, it was found that HIIT exercise provided more noticeable improvements in memory than in people that performed brain training exercises. Individuals that performed the HIIT workouts noticed distinct improvements in memory and were also able to synthesize more brain-supporting proteins and amino acids.
Try this HIIT workout.
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