http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2 ... ne/Page-01
The article continues at the above link.When we think of the benefits of exercise, we tend to think of its ability to reduce cardiovascular disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and control weight.
Research is now proving that exercise is also crucial for preserving and enhancing brain function as we age.1-8
Studies show that exercise inhibits neurodegenerative diseases and even promotes neurogenesis—the creation of new brain cells.1-4
While most forms of exercise are associated with improved cognition, some forms may be superior to others in that respect. A newly released study demonstrates that resistance exercise or weight training, rather than aerobic exercise, has a greater impact on cognitive function.9
In this article, you will learn how exercise—especially strength-training exercise—can enhance cognition and memory and protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Enhanced Muscle Strength Provides Cognitive Protection
For aging individuals, exercise is associated with an array of benefits that support longer lifespan.10 One recent study supports its connection to protecting and enhancing brain function.
In October 2016, scientists released the findings of a large randomized, double-blind, controlled trial that investigated the effects of resistance training on cognitive function in older adults.9 Resistance training, also called strength training, is exercise that uses weights, machines, bands, or other devices that work key muscle groups.
Previous studies had already shown the cognitive benefits of exercise, but this time the researchers wanted to determine whether the cognitive improvements occurred as a result of increased aerobic capacity or increased muscle strength.9
The study included 100 participants age 55 and over with mild cognitive impairment. Each was randomly assigned to either a sham version or a legitimate version of a progressive program of resistance training for two to three days per week. They also received computerized cognitive training.9
Although the program improved both whole-body muscle strength and aerobic capacity, the study team found that only the enhanced strength scores—but not the enhanced aerobic scores—were significantly associated with improvements in cognition.9
While the exact reason for these beneficial effects remains unknown, it is clear that it is the strength-related gains from resistance exercise that cause its cognitive benefits.9
This is an important finding that should change how the medical community approaches exercise. Most medical professionals recommend aerobic exercise, yet fail to understand the value and benefits of resistance exercise, especially in aging populations. This trial showing the superior cognitive benefits of strength training adds to a wealth of past evidence supporting the value of exercise in inhibiting sarcopenia, cognitive decline, and the onset of neurodegenerative disease.11-13
Data now conclusively show that exercise—specifically resistance training—is not just essential for the health of your body, but is an essential component to the health of your brain.