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Weight Lifting For Cognitive Health

1 month, 1 week ago

2711  0
Posted on Jun 03, 2024, 12 p.m.

Moving your body is one of the most important things you can do for your brain. Studies have shown that those who exercise have less risk of developing brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is not just cardiorespiratory exercises like aerobics, running, or dance that help to promote brain health, weight lifting/resistance training should be getting more attention. If you currently are not doing any weight lifting, you may want to consider giving it a try for the numerous benefits for your cognitive health alone. 

Studies also show that weight lifting/resistance training boosts cognitive health. It helps to improve brain health and slows down cognitive decline, even more so in older adults. To add to this weight lifting/resistance training also helps to lessen symptoms of depression.

Weight lifting is beneficial for almost every health issue, and no known drug is able to achieve the same combination of benefits. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that resistance training is inversely associated with disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In other words, the more resistance training that you do, the lower your risk will be for these diseases.

Weight lifting can help the brain’s ability to both access and process glucose. This is especially important to those with metabolism disorders who are at a greater risk for depression and dementia. More so, those with type 2 diabetes are at a 77% increased risk for depression than those with normal blood sugar levels. 

Fluctuations in blood sugar are associated with insulin resistance, meaning that brain cells have difficulty getting the energy that they require. Furthermore, unstable levels of blood sugar for extended periods of time are associated with inflammation which can damage the brain.

A separate study published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness suggests that a session of resistance training helps to reduce blood glucose and insulin levels for up to 24 hours. It helps to lower three-month blood sugar measurements in those at risk for developing diabetes, and increases insulin sensitivity in the elderly, according to the researchers. 

Weight lifting and the immune system have also been shown to be beneficially associated. Particularly, when it comes to myokine molecules that affect the brain which are produced by the muscles. Weight lifting affects the levels of multiple chemicals that are produced by the muscles that are beneficial to brain health. 

One of the important myokines is called brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor (BDNF), and others include insulin-like-growth factor 1 (IGF-1), interleukin 6 (IL-6), as well as irisin. Each of these has favorable effects on the immune system and brain health, such as BDNF being strongly linked to neuroplasticity. This is the ability of brain cells to strengthen connections and generate new brain cells and their connections. 

Brain health strategies should be developed keeping the sustainability of the regime at the forefront. When designing any exercise program be sure to create habits that you will enjoy that avoid injury to keep you moving for the long term. 

Start slow and build your way up. While heavy weights can be beneficial you can still get in a great workout with lighter weights as you gradually increase your physical capacity.

You do not have to spend hours on your training, even a few minutes a day will provide benefits as your stamina increases. 

If you are unsure of proper form, or which movements are best for your needs, you may want to consider working with a trainer to get started on the right path.

Resistance bands can be a great addition to any workout and can help to customize training to your needs.

Protein is important to muscle development and maintenance, so you may need to increase your protein intake. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

T.W. at WHN

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/18/1211

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/the-surprising-benefits-of-weightlifting-for-brain-health.

https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/02/11/strength-training-can-help-protect-the-brain-from-degeneration.html

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1728869X21000307

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6038656/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32658038/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6392812/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8455004/

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