I love Canadian research, especially into what keeps us smarter (and thinner). Three Montreal Institutions got together and studied a protocol that only took a short amount of time—four days a week—and got folks not only smarter, but carved out their waists and improved their insulin sensitivity. These people, granted the study was small, a pilot study, got 3 bangs for their exertion buck: they got smarter, healthier and leaner. Just by doing this 4 days a week, for 4 months.

What did the study do? It did what every body in health care (in-the-know) is raving about: peak burst performance, which is interval training of high intensity but only for 30 second bursts. These were done on the exercise bike, and only 2 days a week, coupled with some weight training for the other two days a week. Easy and simple.

The researchers (Montreal Heart Institute, the University of Montreal, and the Montreal Geriatric University Institute) got 6 people to do this for 4 months. The overweight people did a series of 30 second bursts (going ‘all out’) on the exercise bike followed by 30 seconds of rest, twice a week, with some weight/resistant work the other two days.

Pre and post-tests showed that these chubby out of condition folks, for their not too overwhelming efforts, lost weight especially on their middle, improved their cognition and became demonstrably smarter, and improved their blood sugar metabolism. And all within a third of a year! (Presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto 2012)

You know, there is no excuse to not do some exercise program like this. When patients come into me, even if they have knee problems or are in a wheel chair, I can figure out some way each one of them do some kind of safe repetitive motion that for them is ‘going all out’, so their heart rates go up and their circulation increases.

For example, if they are in a wheel chair, I can have them simply shake their upper body for 30 seconds in a way that doesn’t hurt them, but it is getting them moving. Doing anything, but with huge effort (however, build up gently, don’t get hurt), for 30 seconds, gets your heart rate up, your oxygen pumping, and gets results.

Most of us are simply get lazy about moving. Food is powerful, I say this on the radio all the time. But, moving is powerful, too. And it doesn’t take a lot of perfectionism to pull off benefits. You can just improve your eating a bit, and get moving a bit, and voile’ you start to be a smarter leaner person less likely to get diabetes!