Physical exercise can have many benefits to our body and brain. Heavier exercises such as weight lifting improves blood circulation, cardiac health and reduces fat mass. Interestingly, weight lifting could also have benefits to our brain health.
Our brain is one unique organ. Not only does it work intelligently like a computer, but it can heal and reboot itself exactly like a computer. Exercise helps to improve the blood flow throughout the body, thus allowing the oxygen flow smoothly including to the brain. Current studies found that exercise, especially strength based exercise like weight lifting, promotes brain health.
Lifting weights not only help in muscle building, but promotes brain health as well
We are all well aware of how physical exercise has many benefits to our body and health. Little do we know that physical exercise too can provide benefits to our brain. Often we hear about lifting weights helping to strengthen muscle and increase strength. But isn’t it surprising that when you lift weights, it actually helps to improve brain health too. A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has found that weight lifting could help with cognitive impairment, as seen with lab rats. In fact, weight lifting could promote the generation of new neurons and increase memory function. This suggests that lifting weights can have a neuroprotective effect on the brain.
In a lab test involving rats, it was found that rats that had weights tied to their feet as they climbed ladders experienced changes in the brain cells that increased their thinking abilities. This can be an important finding on how weight-training can help to reverse memory loss. Though the study was only done on rats, researchers believe that strenuous exercise such as weight lifting may have beneficial benefits to humans. Especially for the elderly, weight-training exercise may prevent dementia and improve cognition.
Nevertheless, studies did not focus on rats only. In 2016, a study published by Journal of The American Geriatrics Society conducted in Australia, had a test done on men and women aged 55 to 86 who had problems with cognition, then were grouped into two groups. First group was assigned to lift weights while the second group was assigned with stretching. At the end of the study, the researchers found that the cognition status of the first group was significantly higher than the second group.
But how can weight-training exercises help with cognition? One study published in 2016 explained that when a person lifts weight, gray matter in the brain thickens. This prevents it from shrinkage which is a common sign when an individual is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Wait no more, go lift weightsIf you have never tried weight-training exercises before, well maybe you should consult with a doctor & start looking into this as many studies support its benefits to our brain health as we age.
Though many studies are still needed to confirm this, lifting weights as a method to prevent dementia and to improve cognitive functions especially in elderly is something that is worth a try.
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- Harvard Health Publishing. (2017). Weight training may boost brain power. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/weight-training-may-boost-brain-power
- AARP. (2019). Strength Training’s Surprising Health Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2019/strength-training-health-benefits.html
- MDLinx. (2019). Research shows a surprising link between weightlifting and cognition. Retrieved from https://www.mdlinx.com/article/research-shows-surprising-link-between-weightlifting-and-cognition/lfc-4190