July 16, 2024
Periodic Squatting Exercises

Periodic Squatting Exercises During Sedentary Behavior May Help Maintain Cognitive Function

Sedentary behavior, particularly sitting for extended periods, has been linked to various health issues, including mild cognitive impairment. Previous studies have shown that sitting without movement can negatively impact executive function, which refers to the brain’s ability to plan, focus, remember, and multitask. However, a new study suggests that incorporating periodic squatting exercises into long periods of sitting may help preserve cognitive function.

The study, titled “Effects of intermittent exercise during prolonged sitting on executive function, cerebrovascular and psychological response: a randomized cross-over trial,” was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The researchers aimed to analyze the effects of intermittent exercise on executive function, blood flow, and psychological response.

Young adult volunteers were divided into two conditions: one group sat continuously for three hours (control), while the other group sat for three hours but performed one minute of half-squat exercises every 20 minutes (exercise). The researchers collected data on blood pressure, blood flow through the internal carotid artery (which supplies 75% of the brain’s blood flow), and heart rate every 10 minutes, one hour, two hours, and three hours. Additionally, the participants completed three cognitive tests at the end of each trial.

The results showed that during the exercise condition, participants had quicker responses on the color-word Stroop test, which measures cognitive control, compared to the control condition. They also performed the trail-making test more efficiently during the exercise condition. Furthermore, participants reported decreased concentration and increased mental fatigue during the control trial but not during the exercise trial.

The study also examined blood flow in the internal carotid artery. Sedentary behavior led to a 3.7% decrease in blood flow, while incorporating the intermittent half-squat routine resulted in a slight 0.3% increase.

The researchers acknowledge that the study’s limitations include the restriction on leg movement during the sitting period, which may not reflect real-life situations where people are not limited in their movements. However, they believe that the half-squat intervention can be adopted by individuals who wish to break up their sedentary behavior in environments such as the workplace to support cognitive preservation.

In conclusion, incorporating periodic squatting exercises into sedentary behavior may have positive effects on cognitive function, blood flow, and mental fatigue. This study provides valuable insights into how simple exercise interventions can contribute to maintaining cognitive health.

1.            Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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