Resistance exercise for over 55s has been found to improve brain health.
Resistance exercise for over 55s has been found to improve brain health.

Why lifting weights could boost your brain power

EXERCISE really can be beneficial for body and mind, with the latest research revealing that regular resistance exercise can actually help your brain work better.

The Australian study found that men and women aged over 55 can expand their brain function through building muscle strength (MCI).

Resistance exercise, like weight lifting, was found to be particularly valuable for adults who have mild cognitive impairment.

The Study of Mental and Resistance Training was conducted by the University of New South Wales's Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, in conjunction with the universities of Sydney and Adelaide.

"With 135 million people worldwide forecast to suffer from dementia by 2050, the study's findings have implications for the type and intensity of exercise recommended for our growing ageing population," the report states.

"MCI defines people who have noticeably reduced cognitive abilities, such as memory loss, a precursor to Alzheimer's disease, but who are still able to live independently."

After studying 100 adults aged between 55 and 86 and who had been diagnosed with MCI, researchers found a link between resistance exercise and brain function.

University of Sydney's Dr Yorgi Mavros said: "The more we can get people doing resistance training, like weight-lifting, the more likely we are to have a healthier ageing population.

"The key, however, is to make sure you are doing it frequently, at least twice a week, and at a high intensity so that you are maximising your strength gains. This will give you the maximum benefit for your brain."

The researchers now plan to analyse whether increases in muscle strength can be related to increases in brain size.


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