New Delhi, February 2: In a first, researchers have shown that low and high exercise intensities influence brain function differently, a finding that may pave the way for better clinical applications of physical activity in patients recovering from mental illness or brain injury.
The study, published in the journal Brain Plasticity, used resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (Rs-fMRI) — a noninvasive technique that allows for studies on brain connectivity — to demonstrate that low-intensity exercise triggers the brian’s nerve networks involved in thought control, and attention processing.
On the other hand, it said, high-intensity exercise primarily activates networks involved in emotion processing.
“We believe that functional neuroimaging will have a major impact for unraveling body-brain interactions,” said Angelika Schmitt from the University of Bonn in Germany.
“These novel methods allow us to ‘look’ directly into the brains of a group of athletes, and, maybe even more importantly, understand the dynamic changes in brain structure and function associated with the transition from a sedentary to a healthy lifestyle,” Schmitt said.
In the study, 25 male athletes underwent individual assessments using an incremental treadmill test.
The athletes performed low and high intensity exercise bouts for 30 minutes on alternate days, the researchers said.