Lifting Weights May Boost Brain
Lifting weights–even light ones–twice a week may help fight the shrinking of your brain as it ages.
So concludes new research at the University of British Columbia, where scientists wanted to see if physical activity other than aerobic exercises, could help slow the age-related development of holes or lesions in the brain.
The research team tested their theory on a large group of healthy women between age 65 and 75 who were already enrolled in a brain study. One group went through supervised upper and lower-body weight training once a week, while a second group had the program twice a week. A third group had a program that focused on balance and stretching. All the women followed this regimen for a year.
Women in the first and third groups showed “worrying” signs of brain lesion progression, but those who had lifted weights twice per week displayed significantly less shrinkage and tearing of their white matter. This group showed some signs of lesions, but not nearly as much.
The researchers say these results suggest that weight training provides a big benefit to the structure of the brain, but pointed out that, based on their research, one session a week may not be often enough.