Dr. Bert Bond and Max Weston present an overview on their study investigating the effects high-intensity interval exercise has on cerebrovascular health.

Physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and dementia. This benefit cannot be explained by changes in traditional CVD risk factors alone, and direct improvements in vascular health are thought to play a key role. However, our understanding of how exercise can be optimized for improvements in blood-vessel health is limited.

High-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) is known to improve peripheral vascular function, and there is a growing interest in the effects of HIIE on cerebrovascular health. However, it is not clear whether the acute improvements in peripheral vascular function following HIIE are also seen in the major blood-vessels of the brain.

In the Bond lab’s study, 30 minutes of HIIE completed at both 75% and 90% V̇O2max improved peripheral vascular function 1 and 3h following exercise in healthy young adults, compared with work-matched continuous moderate-intensity exercise and a sedentary control condition. By contrast, cerebrovascular function was unchanged following all conditions. This is the first study to identify that acute improvements in peripheral vascular function following high-intensity interval exercise are not mirrored by improvements in cerebrovascular function in healthy young adults.

Key Topics Include:

  • Understand how ultrasound techniques can be used to assess peripheral and cerebrovascular function, and the acute effect of exercise intensity on these responses
  • Understand how transcranial Doppler ultrasound can be used to measure the cerebrovascular response during exercise
  • Discuss the different acute effects of high intensity interval exercise on peripheral versus cerebral vascular function


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Senior Lecturer
Sport and Health Sciences
University of Exeter

Bert Bond's research focuses on understanding how lifestyle exposures (such as exercise, nutrition, sleep and head impacts) influence parameters of cardiometabolic and vascular health across the lifespan. This involves performing a range of innovative techniques (notably vascular ultrasound) across a range of populations.

Associate Lecturer
Sport and Health Sciences
University of Exeter

Max Weston is an Associate Lecturer and PhD candidate in Sport & Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. His PhD is funded by the QUEX Institute, a collaboration between the University of Exeter (UK) and the University of Queensland (Australia), and focuses on the regulation of cerebral blood flow during exercise in children, adolescents and adults.

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