It is well established that Americans are living longer than ever before, but the quality of life in those later years is the key to enjoying them. It is important to spend that time without pain and to be mentally strong enough to participate in the things we love to do.
DID YOU KNOW:
An Australian study found that strength training can improve memory and reasoning in people with mild cognitive impairment, a common precursor to dementia. The study split a group of men and women ages 55 through 68 into two groups. One group did weight training twice a week for six months, lifting 80% of the maximum amount they could. The other did stretching exercises for the same period of time. All participants were given cognitive tests at the beginning and end of the study and 12 months after they finished the study.
RESULTS: The group that did weight training had significantly higher cognitive scores at the end of the study and retained that gain after 12 months. Interestingly, those who had the greatest increase in strength also had the highest gains in test scores.
According to John J. Ratey, a psychiatrist who wrote the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, there’s overwhelming evidence that strength training produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia by:
- Improving and increasing blood flow to your brain
- Improving cognitive function, even in those who show signs of decline
- Altering the way damaging proteins reside inside your brain, which appears to slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease