"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Weight training can increase brain power.

The research we're taking a look at.

Photo: AntonioGuillem /iStock

Recent studies have indicated that vigorous aerobic exercise can improve memory and reasoning in individuals with mild cognitive impairment, which is usually a precursor to dementia. A team of Australian researchers is studying whether resistance training has an analogous effect.

The team recruited 68 women and 32 men aged 55 to 86, all of whom had mild cognitive impairment, and randomly assigned them to 2 groups. One group did weight training twice every week for six months, lifting 80% of their maximum amount. Others did stretching exercises.

All participants got cognitive tests originally and end of the study and 12 months after completing the study. The group that did the burden training scored significantly higher at the top of the study than originally and maintained this advantage for 12 months. Gains in test scores were also biggest for many who made the best gains in strength. There was a slight decrease within the scores of the stretching exercise group.

The results were published online on October 24, 2016. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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