Summary: Passive exercise increases brain blood flow and improves executive function, providing the same cognitive benefits as more active exercise.
source: University of Western Ontario
A new study conducted by kinesiology graduate students from the West has found that passive exercise increases brain blood flow and improves executive function, providing the same cognitive benefits as active exercise.
Posted in PsychophysiologyThe study is the first to look at whether there would be brain health benefits during passive exercise in which a person’s limbs are moved by an external force – in this case, bicycle pedals driven by a mechanically actuated flywheel.
During a 20-minute session with healthy adults, the team assessed executive function at baseline, before participants exercised, and compared the data after exercise. They found an improvement in executive function of the same magnitude for both passive and active exercise conditions, without an increase in heart rate or diastolic blood pressure.
Executive function is a high-level cognitive ability that allows people to make plans and supports activities of daily living. People with mild cognitive impairments, such as people with early-stage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, can adversely affect their executive function.
Previous research has documented that vigorous exercise, in which a person activates their muscles of their own volition, can increase blood flow to the brain and improve executive function. Passive exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, but this is significantly less documented.
“In terms of passive exercise, we can only assume the result because this type of research has not been done before,” said Matthew Heath, professor of kinesiology and supervisor of the study.
During passive exercise, a person’s limbs move and their muscle receptors are stretched. This information is sent to the brain, indicating the need for more blood in moving areas of the body and in areas connected to the brain. This increase in brain blood flow, although much less than vigorous exercise, led to improvements in executive function of the same magnitude – an exciting finding for the researchers.
“The potential impact for people with reduced mobility or those with immobility can be profound. If done regularly, the increased blood flow to the brain and the resulting improvement in executive function would, hopefully, become a compounding effect for them,” Heath explained. Significant impact on cognitive health and executive function.
Further study could be improved by looking at whether the benefit on executive function persists over longer periods of time after exercise, as well as by including more diverse participants (the elderly or those with health problems, for example).
Heath and his team see great potential in using passive exercise in long-term care homes or in rehabilitation programs for people recovering from musculoskeletal injuries, who cannot perform weight-bearing exercises.
The study was led by master’s student Mustafa Sherzad, and co-authored by graduate students Benjamin Tarr, Connor Dalton, James Van Rijsen, and Michael Marsala. Heath was the corresponding author.
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“Passive exercise increases brain blood flow velocity and supports the benefit of executive function after exerciseBy Mustafa Shirzad et al. Psychophysiology
Passive exercise increases brain blood flow velocity and supports the benefit of executive function after exercise
Executive function entails high-level cognitive control that supports activities of daily living. The literature has shown that a single bout of exercise involving voluntary muscle activation (ie, active exercise) improves executive function and that increased cerebral blood flow (CBF) may contribute to this benefit.
However, it is not known whether involuntary (ie passive) exercise in which an individual’s extremities are moved by an external force leads to a similar benefit to executive function. This is a salient question given that the allergic and feed-forward drive from passive exercise increases CBF independently of the metabolic requirements of active exercise.
Here, in the participants’ procedural verification (n =2) Use the tachometer to complete the 20-min active and passive exercise conditions (via a mechanically driven flywheel) and the no-exercise control condition. Electromyography showed that passive exercise does not increase agonist muscle activation or increase ventilation or gas exchange variables (eg, V̇O).2 and V̇CO2).
Participants in the main experiment (n = 28) completed the same exercise and control conditions and transcranial Doppler ultrasound showed that active and passive exercise (but not the control condition) increased CBF through the middle cerebral artery (ss<.001); Although the volume is lower during passive exercise.
Notably, the anti-corrosion reaction times before and immediately after each case showed that (s <.001) and the unknown (s = .034) The exercise improved an eye movement-based measure of executive function, while no benefit was observed in the control condition (s= .85).
Accordingly, the results demonstrate that passive exercise ‘enhances’ an eye movement-based measure of executive function and support converging evidence that increased CBF mediates this benefit.