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  • Writer's pictureNancy Griffin

Resistance Training Good for the Brain as Well as the Body

Lifting Weights improves brain function, slows down cognitive decline and lessen depressive symptoms.


Studies indicate that resistance training, such as weightlifting, can significantly enhance brain health. This type of exercise is particularly beneficial for older adults, as it can improve brain function and slow cognitive decline. Here's a summary of the key findings:


  1. Improved Brain Function: Resistance training has been shown to boost cognitive performance. This includes improvements in areas such as memory, executive function, and processing speed. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that older women who engaged in resistance training twice a week for six months had better cognitive function compared to those who did only balance and toning exercises.

  2. Slowing Cognitive Decline: Regular resistance training may help slow the progression of cognitive decline in older adults. Research has demonstrated that this form of exercise can help maintain and even enhance brain plasticity, which is crucial for learning and memory. A study in Neurobiology of Aging reported that resistance training led to significant improvements in executive functions and memory performance in older adults.

  3. Reducing Depression: Weightlifting and other forms of resistance training have also been linked to reduced symptoms of depression. Exercise in general is known to release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, but resistance training specifically has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms. A meta-analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry concluded that resistance exercise training significantly reduced depressive symptoms among adults, regardless of health status.

Overall, incorporating resistance training into a regular exercise routine offers substantial benefits for brain health, especially for the elderly. It not only enhances cognitive abilities and slows down cognitive decline but also helps in managing symptoms of depression, making it a valuable component of a holistic approach to maintaining mental and physical health as we age.

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