Stronger Bodies Equal Stronger Brains: How Strength Training Improves Your Brain
You know strength training improves your muscles, but did you know it also improves your brain? Studies show that regularly lifting weights protects your memory, improves concentration, and helps prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It doesn’t just benefit the brains of older adults; studies of young adults and even children have shown improved brain function after exercising. Here are eight more reasons why strength training is the best form of exercise you can do.
1. You Make New Brain Cells
Resistance training increases the level of a growth factor that helps make new brain cells and establishes connections between brain cells, which facilitates learning. While you’re pumping up your muscles, you’re also boosting your brain.
2. It Improves Memory & Concentration In Older Adults
Prevention magazine reports on a study of men aged 65 to 75 years old who worked out three times a week for 24 weeks. The group who worked out at the highest intensity showed the greatest improvement on neurological tests for concentration and long- and short-term memory. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, and once you’re given the all-clear to proceed, start slowly and build up gradually to heavier weights and higher repetitions.
3. It Makes Younger People Mentally Sharper Than Their Peers
Studies of young adult men and women report that they are mentally sharper and quicker after exercising. The same is true of children. An article in Forbes stated that children who are fit and exercise regularly score higher on cognitive tests and have better memory recall.
4. It Builds Stronger Bones
In addition to making you smarter and strengthening your muscles, lifting weights leads to better bone health. According to Daring to Live Fully, you can control bone loss as you age by stressing your bones with weight training. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis and improves balance, making you less likely to fall and break a bone.
5. You Lose More Fat
If you are frustrated by a lack of results from your diet and exercise program, try adding resistance training to your routine. Studies show that people lose 40 percent more fat when they strength train than when they just diet or when they diet and do cardio.
6. It Relieves Stress
Weight-bearing exercises release more endorphins, or feel-good hormones, in a shorter amount of time than other forms of exercise. Resistance exercises that work more than one muscle group at the same time produce the greatest number of endorphins.
7. It Protects Against Diabetes
Muscles draw glucose from the bloodstream, so people who weight train have better blood sugar levels.
8. You Look and Feel Great
What more do you need? Firmer muscles, a trimmer waist, greater self-esteem and reduced symptoms of depression all result from lifting weights.