There are many reasons to participate in strength training. Weight-baring exercises are good known for their health benefits. But, could lifting weights also stimulate your brain? Research that was recently released indicates that may just be the case.
Researchers asked a group of people aged 55 to 86 to begin the study and engaged them in a mix of brain training and lifting weights. All of the people who took part in the study had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, an early sign of dementia which is a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
The results of this particular study were quite impressive even if it did not examine whether the benefits of exercise could be extended to the general population. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and it found that weight-baring exercises could really provide some brain benefits. The researchers found a causal relationship between an increase in brain function and an increase in muscle strength.
This same team of researchers also published a paper in 2014. They revealed that weight training provides cognitive benefits to every area of the brain – something cognitive training failed to do.
One of the researchers in this study, Dr. Yorgi Mavros of Sydney University says that the improvement in cognition function is related to the gain in muscle strength. The stronger people become the bigger is the benefit for their brain.
For the strength training, participants of this study were asked to lift weights that were equal to around 80 percent of their highest limit. They did this for six months twice a week – like the way in which athletes usually train. And the amount of weight they lifted went up as the participants got stronger in order to maintain the desired 80 percent of their greatest effort.
Lifting weights was revealed with brain scans that certain regions of the brain actually got bigger in size for those who took part in the exercise regime.
The more people are doing strength training like weight lifting, the more likely is to have a healthier aging population, says Dr. Mavros. Also, the best way to make sure that you get the most benefit from exercise is to maintain a regular routine. Exercising with some intensity, and frequently, is crucial to get the most out of what you’re doing.
This research is not the only one to suggest that exercise can provide benefits to brain health. Science has pointed out that in addition to better mental health, exercise can also promote both better concentration and memory.