Today, there are very high demands on our cognitive skills both at the workplace and at home. Research has shown that habitual physical activity is positively associated with healthy brain functions, i.e. mental health, cognitive function and mechanisms supporting these. Unfortunately, most previous findings are based on self-reported physical activity and fitness rather than objective data on aerobic capacity and physical activity patterns. Poor understanding of the mechanisms underlying the association between physical activity and healthy brain functions hinders scientifically sound recommendations to the working population and their employers.
Recently, cutting edge objective measures of physical activity have become available that allow investigation of how different components within physical activity patterns affect health. Feasible methods for estimating aerobic capacity through submaximal cycling protocols have also been refined. These methodological developments open up a new field of research. Prolonged sedentary (sitting) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (exercise) may promote healthy brain functions via different pathways. Knowledge is therefore needed both on the effects of these behaviors and on how behavioral changes can be successfully promoted within a workplace. The core question of this project is how different components within physical activity patterns can promote healthy brain functions. The core question is addressed in three sub projects where researchers from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences co-produce knowledge with Monark Exercise, ICA-gruppen, Intrum Justitia, Itrim and SATS.
The project has prowen that physical activity can promote healthy brain function. Results suggest that it is conceivable to expect a beneficial relationship
between VO2max and some cognitive domains up to a certain fitness level.