Exercise-induced cognitive improvements have traditionally been observed following aerobic exercise interventions; that is, sustained sessions of moderate intensity. Here, researchers tested the effect of a 6 week high-intensity training program on measures of cognitive control and working memory in a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
318 children aged 7-13 years were randomly assigned to high-intensity training or an active control group matched for enjoyment and motivation. The 6-week high-intensity exercise program resulted in improvements on measures of cognitive control and working memory, moderated by BDNF genotype, with met66 carriers showing larger gains post-exercise than val66 homozygotes. The authors suggest that short, intense exercise regimens are promising lifestyle interventions for enhancing cognitive function in children.
Moreau D, Kirk IJ and Waldie KE: High-intensity training enhances executive function in children in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Elife 2017 Aug 22;6. pii: e25062. doi: 10.7554/eLife.25062.