Sunday, January 13, 2019

How Lower Body Strength Training Improves Brain Function

While mental games and puzzles have some effect on your brain, exercise is still one of the best ways to ensure a healthy brain. In fact, there's ample evidence showing that resistance training exercise, especially lower body strength training, is vitally important for healthy brain and nervous system function.   Several studies show a strong link between leg strength and cognitive function.

Research has shown that when you fail to perform weight bearing exercise, you don’t just lose muscle, your brain and nervous system also deteriorate.   

A 2018 study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience shows that neurological health depends as much on signals sent by the body’s large, leg muscles to the brain as it does on directives from the brain to the muscles.  According to Medical News Today, "The main takeaway of the new findings is that leg exercise — weight-bearing exercise, in particular — 'tells' the brain to produce healthy neurons, which are key for … [coping] with stress and life changes."

The researchers called out climbing stairs, dancing, hiking, tennis, walking and weightlifting as healthy examples of weight-bearing exercise. Study author Raffaella Adami, Ph.D, professor and researcher in the department of health science at Italy's University of Milan, said:

"It is no accident we are meant to be active: to walk, run, crouch to sit and use our leg muscles to lift things. Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises — such as patients who are bedridden, or even astronauts on extended travel — not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted."

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