Exercise, along with nutritious eating, is the best health practice you can adopt. By increasing blood flow to your brain and reducing damaging brain plaques, it can help prevent and even reverse neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Research shows resistance training, also called resistance or strength training, offers special benefits to the brain not seen with aerobic exercise, especially in preventing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a prelude to Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some research suggest muscular strength may be used as an actual indicator of imminent MCI, so closely correlated are muscle strength and brain health.1
A recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology2 found rats that did resistance training actually changed their brain’s cellular environment, improving their ability to think. The rats overcame lab-induced mild cognitive impairment — and their brains exhibited enzymes and genetic markers linked to new neurons and increased plasticity from resistance training.
In addition to newly identified brain benefits, resistance training improves overall quality of life and helps with everyday activities, so it’s a win-win.
Research Confirms Resistance Training’s Effects
The unique cognitive benefits of resistance training versus those of aerobic training in humans have been well documented in the medical literature. Here’s what researchers writing in the journal CNS & Neurological Disorders-Drug Targets wrote:3
“Some evidence shows that aerobic training can attenuate the aging effects on the brain structures and functions. However, the strength exercise effects are poorly discussed. Thus, in the present study, the effects of strength training on the brain in elderly people and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients were revised. Furthermore, a biological explanation relating to strength training effects on the brain is proposed.
Brain atrophy can be related to neurotransmission dysfunction, like oxidative stress, that generates mitochondrial damage and reduced brain metabolism. Another mechanism is related to amyloid deposition and amyloid tangles, that can be related to reductions on insulin-like growth factor I concentrations.
The brain-derived neurotrophic factor also presents reduction during aging process and AD. These neuronal dysfunctions are also related to cerebral blood flow decline that influence brain metabolism. All of these alterations contribute to cognitive impairment and AD.
After a long period of strength training, the oxidative stress can be reduced, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and insulin-like growth factor I serum concentrations enhance, and the cognitive performance improves.
Considering these results, we can infer that strength training can be related to increased neurogenesis, neuroplasticity and, consequently, counteracts aging effects on the brain. The effect of strength training as an additional treatment of AD needs further investigation.”
Resistance Training Can Be a Natural Antidepressant
The ability of aerobic exercise to work as a natural antidepressant is well known; millions of people know that when they feel the “blues,” a good workout can help. But strength training can also lift your mood, research shows.
“There’s a different high when you make a lift or complete your program that day,” says Li Faustino, a New York City clinical psychologist treating people with depression.4
“When you’re in depression, you’re ruminating and worrying and fuming and feeling badly and second-guessing, and it’s all mental,” says Kelly Coffey, a personal trainer in Northampton, Massachusetts, who began lifting weights to deal with her own depression. “It’s this trap that lifting weights safely has to lift you out of.”
One study, which included 32 participants ages 60 to 84, tested the hypothesis that “progressive resistance training (PRT) would reduce depression while improving physiologic capacity, quality of life, morale, function and self-efficacy without adverse events in an older, significantly depressed population.” Researchers found that depression did indeed lift in the subjects. What’s more, positive results correlated to the intensity of the training.5
If you are looking to tone up, gain energy and perhaps lose some unwanted weight, contact me today! To your health, results and success!
To Your Health, Results and Success!
(Source, Dr. Mercola)…