A new study has found that just one minute of squats every 20 minutes can help to improve cognitive function, even after extended periods of sitting. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, found that participants who performed squats every 20 minutes during a three-hour sitting period had better cognitive function than those who did not. The researchers believe that the squats help increase blood flow to the brain, improving cognitive function.
The study participants were young adults who were asked to sit for three hours on two occasions. On one occasion, the participants were allowed to sit uninterrupted. On the other occasion, the participants were asked to perform squats every 20 minutes. After each sitting period, the participants took a series of cognitive tests. The researchers found that the participants who performed squats had better cognitive function on all tests.
Additionally, blood flow in the carotid artery decreased by over 3% when they were only sedentary.
“[O]ur half-squat intervention may be able to be used by individuals seeking to break up their sedentary behavior in an effort to preserve cognition during times, such as in the workplace,” the study authors wrote.
The researchers believe that the findings of their study have important implications for workplace health. They suggest that employees who are required to sit for long periods of time should take regular breaks to perform squats or other types of exercise. This could help to improve their cognitive function and productivity.