Your Brain and Weight Training
Tests showed that seniors who trained with free weights, dumbbells and weight machines just once or twice a week improved their cognitive ability by almost 13 percent after working out for a year. What’s interesting is that a similar group of women who did toning and balance exercises actually regressed in their decision-making abilities and focus.
Lifting weights, it turns out, slows older women’s cognitive decline. The study was published in “Archives of Internal Medicine.” Tests showed that seniors who trained with free weights, dumbbells and weight machines just once or twice a week improved their cognitive ability by almost 13 percent after working out for a year. What’s interesting is that a similar group of women who did toning and balance exercises actually regressed in their decision-making abilities and focus.
As a trainer and bodybuilder I have always promoted weight lifting over body toning exercises many women are asking for: Yoga and Pilates. They are a great complement to a weightlifting routine. Especially when it comes to older women, they are hard to convince that strength training is necessary for them. We have seen study after study show the benefits of weight lifting; it promotes bone health and reduces age-related muscle loss and now we know that it helps us stay sharp as we age. Alzheimer’s and dementia are so common among seniors that many people don’t even think about what can be done to prevent them.
Walking and all cardiovascular exercises are important to keep your heart healthy; Yoga helps calm your body and mind, but weight training will keep your body fit and your mind sharp. So, if you are one of those who avoids dumbbells and weight machines, think again. Exercises like squats or lunges while curling a 5 pound dumbbell can significantly increase your mental and physical health. Proper form when lifting weights will help prevent injuries and strengthen weak joints and muscles. Another benefit is that weight lifting helps your upper body fatigue.
Flex your brain!
When you’re ready to begin a weight training program, make sure you seek out a professional trainer or physical therapist to ensure you’re doing the exercises properly. Check out your local gyms for special resistance classes for seniors or hire a professional personal trainer with a specialized senior fitness program who can help you set up a routine that’s just right for you.
Related post: Anti – Aging
10 Reasons Weightlifting is Good for Your Mental Health
Everyone wants to have a lean and beautiful body and that’s what most clients ask me for when they sign up for training with me. What they don’t realize is that weight lifting not only changes their body, it changes the brain. Several studies have looked into lifting weights for brain health and one Canadian study found that lifting weights just twice a week helps to maintain brain health and possibly prevent diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s.
Another study, done at UCLA, found that physical activity increased brain volume, especially in those aged 75 and older, leading researchers to suggest that it is never too late get involved in physical activity.
Here are 10 reasons why you need to start lifting weights today.
1. Weightlifting Releases Endorphins
You probably already knew that but did you know that endorphins, otherwise known as “feel good” chemicals stimulate the pleasure part of your brain and elevate your mood.
2. Weightlifting Decreases and Possibly Prevents Depression
If you are feeling the blues, get in the gym and start lifting. Resistance training relieves and even prevents mental health issues.
3. Weightlifting Boosts Memory
The repetition involved in weight training has surprising effects like improving your memory. Studies show that weight lifting can improve both your short-term and long-term memory.
4. Weightlifting Reduces Anxiety
It is estimated that some 15% of people in the United States experience anxiety that lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 days a month. Studies show that people who incorporate resistance training experience better moods and less anxiety on a monthly basis.
5. Weightlifting Reduces Fatigue
Another malady of the modern world. Chronic fatigue is something that almost a quarter of Americans have to deal with in their everyday life. Weight training reduces the level of fatigue that the body experiences and makes for a better night’s sleep.
6. Weightlifting Improves Self-Esteem
Study after study show that weightlifting can improve your self-esteem both in the short term and the long run. This is partly due to the better physique that it brings but also due to the sense of accomplishment that weight lifting provides.
7. Weightlifting Boosts Your IQ
That’s right! If you want to be as smart as possible, consider weight training. Research shows that young adults who exercise experience an increase in intelligence scores compared to people who don’t.
8. Weightlifting Improves learning and memory
Studies show that people who get more exercise tend to be quicker learners and weight lifting exercise improves overall cognitive function. Researchers have gone on to study how long people are able to reap the improvements in learning and memory following exercise. Exercise improves memory mostly due to the fact that it increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – a protein that plays a major role in memory formation and storage.
9. Weight Lifting Increases Creativity
That’s something you probably didn’t expect. Studies show that weight lifting enhances creativity independently of mood. Creative thinking was tested by three measures of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT). The research demonstrated that mood and creativity improved independently of each other as a result of aerobic and resistance exercise. So want to come up with the next billion dollar genius invention? Exercising may help.
10. Weightlifting Improves Attention.
Do you struggle with attention? Many people are unable to remain calm and focused as a result of stress and anxiety. Other individuals aren’t getting the proper neurotransmitters that they need for optimal mental functioning. In order to increase your ability to pay attention, researchers suggest you start lifting and doing cardio to improve connections between the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is heavily involved in tasks involving attention, organization, and higher learning.
More Senior Fitness Benefits here…
Did I convince you to start weightlifting? Call me to set up an appointment already…