Many interventional studies have reported the benefits of regular physical activity on cognitive aging, even more when different exercise modalities were combined. The purpose of our study was to assess the effects of a training intervention combining high-intensity interval training and resistance training on anthropometric data, exercise tolerance, cognitive performance and cerebral oxygenation during exercise in overweight adults.
6 adults (4 males) (49.4 ± 8.7 years; BMI: 29.4 ± 1.4 kg/m2) performed a 4-months training program including 2 high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions on ergocycle, and 2 resistance training sessions per week with a facultative mild intensity continuous session. Body composition, blood analysis, cognitive performances, maximal exercise tolerance with gas exchange analysis, non-invasive cardiac output measurement and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) cerebral signals were measured before and after training.
We found significant improvements in maximal power and VO2 max, a decrease in maximal heart rate without other hemodynamic changes. Weight, BMI, fat mass, and waist circumference significantly decreased (p<0,01), whereas no effects on biological parameters, nor on muscle mass were observed. Some cognitive tests for executive functions (Digit Symbol Substitution Test, p<0.01 ;Stroop Inhibition Task) and memory (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, p=0.03; Digit span, p<0.05) significantly and clinically improved. Regarding the kinetics of the NIRS signals during exercise, both deoxyhemoglobin (HHb) and hemoglobin difference between oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin (HbDiff) had higher amplitudes after training (p<0.05).
In addition to improvements in exercise tolerance, a program combining HIIT and resistance training could improve executive functions in overweight adults. These results were associated with changes in cerebral oxygenation measured using NIRS suggesting that variations in deoxyhemoglobin are much more related to exercise tolerance than oxyhemoglobin.
© 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.