What is it about?

Children and adolescents grow incresingly physically inactive and sedentary. This is worrying as physical activity support normal growth of multiple organs and organ systems in the body including for example heart and bone. Recent studies have also shown that physical activity and exercise are important for brain and cognitive development, but there are very limited information on the effects of high intensity interval exercise on attention, memory, and executive functions in youth. We showed that adolescents who performed six high intensity interval exercise sessions over two weeks improved their execuive functions but showed impaired reaction time in attention task compared to their non-exercising peers.

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Why is it important?

Our findings suggest that even short-term high intensity interval training over two weeks may improve adolescent's executive functions. Executive functions are important in learnining and academic performance and therefore including exercise sessions to school days may support learning and school performance.


Adolescents were may be sometimes a challenging study population, but within this pilot study working with them was extremely fruitful and nice and gave important perspectives on their lifestyles and preferences. This was also nice paper as it was made by "junior researchers" (wth PhD & MSc degrees) without professors.

Dr. Eero Haapala
University of Jyväskylä

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Effects of Two-Week High-Intensity Interval Training on Cognition in Adolescents – A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study, Human Movement, January 2017, Termedia Sp. z.o.o.,
DOI: 10.1515/humo-2017-0019.
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