A new paper in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who strength train score higher on cognitive tests.
Older women who did an hour or two of strength training exercises each week had improved cognitive function a year later, scoring higher on tests of the brain processes responsible for planning and executing tasks, a new study has found.
The Women (ages 65 to 75) were all put on a strength training program for a full year.
A year later, the women who did strength training had improved their performance on tests of so-called executive function by 10.9 percent to 12.6 percent, while those assigned to balance and toning exercises experienced a slight deterioration — 0.5 percent. The improvements in the strength training group included an enhanced ability to make decisions, resolve conflicts and focus on subjects without being distracted by competing stimuli.
Notice that the control group still exercised, but only did “toning” and “balance” work and saw a slight deterioration in cognitive function. This is the kind of stuff you’d do in a Yoga class, or even an aerobics class. Those things are great (even essential). But, without a dedicated strength training program, you’re selling yourself short – apparently even your brain!