We all know exercise can help us as we age, but did you know there are more and more studies suggesting it can increase the size of the brain and prevent dementia? Weight lifting was the exercise that came up recently in these newer studies.
Australian researchers have found more evidence to suggest that improving muscle strength can improve brain function, and possibly prevent the onset of dementia.
Research took place at the University of Sydney for the Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART), and showed a positive link between progressive resistance training and brain function in patients over the age of 55, who were suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Participants completed weight lifting workouts twice a week for 6 months, at 80 percent of their peak strength. They concluded improved cognitive function was related to an increase in muscle strength. The study noted it has to be intense and consistent. Other studies have shown similar findings. One even showed an increase in the size of the brain suggesting brain atrophy may be able to be prevented.
Conclusion: The stronger people became, the greater benefit for their brain. Also, all physical activity can increase brain size and decrease cognitive decline in older adults.
I always love when I can help my older adults with balance and strength, those are the things we all seem to be concerned about. Fall prevention and maintaining independence. But cognitive health is something that obviously is of utmost importance, and if we can help prevent or slow this in the lives of the older population I say lets do it!! Pick up the weights seniors, it will benefit every aspect of your life 🙂