Do Fitter Legs Mean a Sharper Brain?
Your legs are the largest muscle group in your body and, believe it or not, could be protecting your brain from cognitive decline.
Researchers from King’s College in London looked at 324 healthy female twins with an average age of 55. The scientists measured thinking, learning, and memory at the beginning and end of the study and controlled for genetic factors that affect cognition.
Their findings, published in Gerontology, found that leg strength could be a direct indicator of improved cognitive function as we age.
Whichever twin had more leg power at the beginning of the study was found to better maintain their cognition and experienced fewer cognitive changes with aging after the 10 year follow-up.
The results reinforce the belief that activity may help our health both on a physical and mental level.
Several other studies have compared physical health to brain function, including one study from the University of Illinois that found that white matter – nerve tissue for brain function – was thicker and denser in physically active children.