Resistance Training and Brain Health

42883-1_aslHere’s another great article on exercise and brain health, entitled “A Lift to Brain Power“.  I’ve posted articles in the past talking about the benefits of exercise on the brain.  Most of those studies were done using aerobic exercise.  This study focuses on the benefits of resistance training in staving off the lesions that occur in the brain over time and that are linked to memory problems and cognitive impairment.  In this study,  women ranging in age from 65 to 75 were placed into three groups.  All three had brain scans done prior to starting the study as well as testing on walking speed and gait pattern.  As we age, our muscles weaken which in turn causes our gaits to slow and become less stable, possibly contributing to declining brain health.  One group was assigned light resistance training one time per week, one group was assigned light resistance training for two times per week and the final control group was given a stretching and balance routing two times per week.  All these women continued their training for one year.  What the study showed was that while all three groups still showed a progression in the number and size of lesions in the white matter in their brains, the group who were assigned resistance training two times per week had significantly less white matter shrinkage than the other two groups.  In addition, their walking speeds were faster and their gait smoother than the other groups.

All of this is good news for those of you coming in to Forza! twice a week.  It should be a wake up call for those of you who are less faithful in your exercise routine.  I’m all for walking or running, especially outside, but it is not enough!  We need the extra muscle building and brain protection provided by resistance training.  Let’s hear it for those squats!