Laurie's Blog


11 Feb 2018

Boost the brain with short term exercise!

Smart Dog

I am very fortunate to have somebody to search through and summarize blog posts for me!  Because it led me to a really great article that explained some recent research!  This time, the information came from:


It’s an article about some research done at Western University, located in London, Ontario, Canada, and summarizes the following paper:  Ashna Samani, Matthew Heath. Executive-related oculomotor control is improved following a 10-min single-bout of aerobic exercise: Evidence from the antisaccade task. Neuropsychologia, 2018; 108: 73 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.11.029


What is cool about this paper, is that is shows that as little as 10-minutes of aerobic exercise, can cause a boost in brain performance.  Here’s what they did:

“During the study, research participants either sat and read a magazine or did 10 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise on a stationary bicycle. Following the reading and exercise session, the researchers used eye-tracking equipment to examine participants' reaction times to a cognitively demanding eye movement task. The task was designed to challenge areas of the brain responsible for executive function such as decision-making and inhibition.”


And what happened?  The people who had exercises prior to testing showed immediate improvement.  They had faster reaction times (50 milliseconds shorter than their pre-test values), which represented a 14% gain in cognitive performance!  The next step in the research will be to determine how long those cognitive improvements last!  


Interestingly, what makes this research different, is that it shows that just a short bout of exercise has benefits.  Other research has shown brain-benefits after a 24-week long-term exercise program, or benefits after 20 minutes of a single bout of exercise.  But 10 minutes is super achievable for just about anyone!  … even dogs!


If FourLeg Members recall the Jan-Feb 2017 issue of FourLeg News, the whole newsletter was about exercise and the brain.  The gist of the newsletter was that exercise can improve cognition in the aging canine brain, and enhance learning of new skills.  So, what I like about this new ‘human’ research, is that we can speculate with almost entire certainty that exercise will improve cognition in the canine brain… and likely with as little as 10-minutes of exercise!


This is great news!  It is a great way to promote your UWT or swim tank exercise sessions to the older canine pet population.  It is a great way to promote your Senior Dog Classes!  It’s simply a great message to share with your dog owners!  Get them out!  It doesn’t have to be for long… just get them moving.  (And if you’re in a Canadian Deep Freeze… then run them around the basement, play games, put them on a land treadmill.)  Just get them moving!



Until next time… Cheers!   Laurie


Tags: exercise , brain boost

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