Did you know that 8 in 10 Australians do not complete any type of strength training?
Strength training doesn't need to involve heavy weights, but you can use your body weight or resistant bands to improve muscle strength. There are many benefits of strength training, such as improved strength, pain management and better glucose control. However, the most significant benefit could be improvements in cognitive functioning. The rate of Dementia is increasing rapidly, most likely due to the large ageing population, with rates tripling worldwide by 2050. These figures don't include those with mild cognitive impairments, with research suggesting that those with MCI will form dementia within 6 years of diagnosis.
Research based in Australia has found a strong link between strength training and cognitive functioning. They took 100 older adults with mild cognitive impairments and split them into two groups; one group completing strength training and cognitive training, the other group completing flexibility/stretching program with a placebo for cognitive training. The results showed improvements in cognitive functioning in those completing the strength program, with little to no improvements in the flexibility group.
Not only does exercise have a link with cognition, they also found that gains in muscle strengths saw gains in cognitive functioning- finally being able to specify a particular mode of exercise to see the most benefits. The researchers have suggested twice a week strength training at 80 per cent 1RM at a moderate to high intensity to see benefits. Other improvements to note included better selective attention, planning, organising and multitasking.
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