We already knew that weight training was great for building bone density and halting muscle loss. But new research suggests that it also improves brain function. What’s really interesting is that it seems other forms of physical activity do not to have the same effect on the brain.
In a study conducted in British Columbia, 155 women between the ages of 65 and 75 were divided into three groups. One group exercised once per week with dumbbells and weight machines, a second group did this weightlifting routine twice per week, and a control group did a balance and toning workout twice per week.
After 12 months the women were given tests that measured executive cognitive function (the ability to make decisions, resolve conflicts, and focus on subjects without being distracted). The control group, despite their twice weekly workouts, experienced a slight decline, 0.5%, while both weightlifting groups showed a significant improvement. The group working out once per week increased their scores by 10.9%, while the twice-per-week lifters showed a 12.6% improvement.
Evidently lifting those weights builds more than just muscle and bone, it also leads to better brain health. Make sure your exercise routine includes some strength training, and that you’re pumping iron at least once per week.