The Importance of Exercise for Brain Health – The Peter Attia Drive

Check out The Peter Attia Drive podcast page

This is Peter’s (@PeterAttiaMD) new short podcast series, The Qualys, available only to paying subscribers (except for periodic episodes like this one). This audio clip is from Peter’s interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick – check out the Podcast Notes.

Key Takeaways

  • “That’s another change in my belief system today vs. 5 or 6 years ago… 5 or 6 I didn’t think exercise was that important for longevity” – Peter
  • It seems to be that exercise is the single most important thing you can do to preserve brain health
    • “If you’re not active every day, we have to change that”
  • Rhonda finds exercise very much improves her anxiety levels and as well as her decision-making ability
    • “If I have something that’s bothering me or giving me anxiety or I have to make a really important decision, going for a long run really helps me”
  • There’s been multiple studies showing aerobic exercise helps with executive function and long-term planning
  • Strength training has been shown to prevent muscle atrophy (the wasting away of muscle), and lower the incidence of cancer
  • VO2 max is the ability of the body to transport oxygen during exercise – this improves with high-intensity interval training (HIIT
    • VO2 max declines about 10% per decade (muscle mass declines at the same rate)
      • Rhonda recalls a study showing that 24 sessions of high-intensity interval training (45 minutes total including both a 5-minute warm up and cool down, going at 70% max capacity with 1-minute breaks) improved VO2 max by 12%
    • PVO2 max is important for cyclist – this is the power output at VO2 max
    • VVO2 max is important for runners – this is the velocity you carry at VO2 max
    • The VO2 max of a professional cyclist is 80-90 mg/ml/kg
  • To sum up – “If you can maintain muscle mass and you can maintain peak aerobic performance, it doesn’t even matter at that point if you’re living longer, you’re clearly living better”