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#084 The Longevity & Brain Benefits of Vigorous Exercise | Dr. Rhonda Patrick

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Download the 9-Page "Cognitive Enhancement Blueprint" companion guide at bdnfprotocols.com.

This episode challenges common perceptions about exercise, delving deep into the benefits of vigorous exercise for not just physical health but also brain function, aging, and even cancer prevention. It tackles fundamental questions, like what genetic and metabolic adaptations occur with vigorous exercise and how it can contribute to combating heart's age-related changes. We also unpack how these rigorous exercises affect glucose transport, mitochondrial health, and brain health at an intricate level. Lastly, it introduces practical applications like the Norwegian 4x4 interval training protocol, the benefits of "exercise snacks," and how to incorporate vigorous-intensity exercise into everyday life.

In this episode, I discuss:

  • (00:00) Introduction
  • (04:34) What differentiates "vigorous" from "zone 2" training
  • (08:34) Ties between VO2 max & life expectancy
  • (11:55) Why zone 2 training doesn't guarantee VO2 max improvements
  • (14:17) How to balance zone 2 training & vigorous-intensity workouts
  • (16:17) Why the Norwegian 4x4 protocol may improve your VO2 max
  • (19:35) Evidence-based methods to estimate VO2 max outside a lab.
  • (22:33) What it takes to reverse 20 years of heart aging: a two-year protocol
  • (28:24) HIIT and type 2 diabetes – how vigorous exercise can reduce risk.
  • (29:38) The mitochondria argument: HIIT vs. Zone 2 – which intensity is better?
  • (32:09) Rethinking the 80-20 rule for everyday exercisers (less zone 2, more effort)
  • (35:18) The role of high-intensity workouts in enhancing mitophagy
  • (38:03) Why lactate accumulation from higher training intensity benefits the brain
  • (40:28) Why the "glucose sparing" effect of lactate benefits brain injury and aging
  • (43:26) The unique BDNF benefits of high-intensity exercise: the lactate advantage
  • (44:42) The angiogenic effects of VEGF on the blood-brain barrier (in response to lactate)
  • (46:58) The greater the exercise intensity, the greater the myokine release
  • (49:48) How physical activity affects death risk in breast & colorectal cancer survivors
  • (50:56) How vigorous aerobic exercise kills circulating tumor cells
  • (52:36) Why exercise reduces depression and neurotoxicity (kynurenine mechanism)
  • (54:13) The surprising power of "exercise snacks" against mortality
  • (1:01:36) Download "The Cognitive Enhancement Blueprint" at bdnfprotocols.com

Watch this episode on YouTube

Show notes are available by clicking here

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