Four months of a high-intensity interval training program dramatically increased cognitive performance, among middleaged people with increased cardiovascular risk.

Anil Nigam, from the University of Montreal (Canada), and colleagues assessed the effects of high-intensity interval training, on a group of six middle-aged men and women. All subjects had a body mass index (BMI) between 28 and 31, in addition to one or more cardiovascular risk factors. The participants followed a four-month program of twice-weekly interval training on stationary bicycles and twice-weekly resistance training. At the end of the study period, trunk fat mass decreased while VO2 max and insulin sensitivity rose. Notably, oxygenation of blood in the brain increase significantly, and performance on standardized cognitive tests improved. The study authors report that: “the benefits of physical activity appear to be directly linked to the notion of training volume and intensity.”


  1. Gremeaux V, Gayda M, Lepers R, Sosner P, Juneau M, Nigam A. “Exercise and longevity.” Maturitas. 2012 Dec;73(4):312-317.