Get Smart by Lifting Weights
You are wrong if you assume that musclemen (and musclewomen) are generally dimwitted. If you still believe in this nonsense, you are going against scientifically proven facts.
There is proof that lifting weights (which most musclemen and musclewomen do a lot) will in fact improve the ability of your brain to function. In a number of recent studies, it was proven that elderly persons who lifted weights, or performed alternative forms of resistance training, slowed their decline to full-blown dementia.
In one study, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, it was revealed that when adults who were inactive started resistance training, even after the age of 65, their brain benefited. The exercises improved their brain functioning and increased their brain size as well.
This study was done on 120 sedentary adults, some are experiencing mild memory lapses and some are cognitively healthy. All the participants were required to perform an exercise program for one year. The exercise program consists of either moderate-intensity walking or stretching-toning movements.
An MRI scanner was used by the researchers to scan the brains of the participants. After a year, the researchers found that the walking group showed improvement in their memory and increases in the volume of their hippocampus, the region of the brain credited with processing memory as compared to those who just practiced stretching and toning exercises.
“Our findings suggest that the aging brain remains modifiable, and that sedentary older adults can benefit from starting a moderate walking regimen,” says Dr. Kirk Erickson, leader of the research team.
British Columbia Resistance Training Study
In another study conducted in British Columbia, researchers have achieved almost the same results. The six-month strength training program helped women with mild cognitive impairment and some with memory problems improve their problem-solving abilities, decision making and attention. This experiment showed that resistance training, including weight lifting, did improve the functioning of brain areas that support decision-making.
The mechanics of the six-month study is as follows:
- 86 women aged 70 to 80 years old were randomly assigned to three groups.
- 26 of them did resistance training, such as lifting weights to build muscle strength
- 24 of the participants walked outdoors as their aerobic program.
- 27 of the women took basic balance and toning classes as a control group.
- The exercise classes were held twice a week.
The thing that made this experiment so impressive is that it proves that weight lifting and other forms of resistance training can indeed improve two processes that are very sensitive to the effects of aging and neurodegeneration – associative memory and executive function. These two are usually impaired during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
An important aspect of fitness is resistance training because it makes possible a lot of things:
- It works specific muscle groups
- It helps to increase muscle mass and reduces or slows down muscle loss
- It maintains and increases joint flexibility, and
- It slows down bone loss.
In addition, the British Columbia study proves that resistance training program can enhance associative memory. Thus your ability of having one thought of your memory trigger another memory packet is improved by lifting weights and other resistance training. In addition, your ability to resolve conflicts is enhanced as well.
The participants that did the aerobic exercises didn’t manifest the same improvement in their cognitive functions. Most aerobic exercises can be performed without too much thinking. It is just a matter of putting one foot ahead of the other, or things of that sort.
Why Weight Lifting Improves Your Brain Capacity
With weight lifting and other resistance training, you need to learn the proper lifting techniques to avoid accidental injuries. Some of the techniques can even take years to master. This is perhaps the primary reason why resistance training such as weight lifting enhances the capacity and functioning of your brain.
Weight lifting in itself requires a lot of attention. You need to be sharp while lifting weights or else you will get yourself injured. Whenever you are performing resistance training exercises, you need to constantly monitor what you are doing.
You have to pay attention to your breathing; you have to count the number of sets you have already performed, and the number of repetitions you still have to accomplish and so forth. In addition, you also need to maintain a good form while lifting weights. In truth, there is a lot to think about while you are lifting weights.
Are you still doubtful about the mental capacity of weight lifters? If you will consider the scientific facts discussed in this article, you will no longer look at the weightlifters in a Crunch gym with disdain.
Perhaps they are even smarter than you are (if you’re not a weightlifter yourself). So, if you want to improve your brain functions and your mental capacity, why not try to lift weights in a Snap Fitness gym? (View Prices and View Reviews)
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