Weight Training Can Reverse Memory Loss


The conventional wisdom is that working out with heavy weights is only a way to build muscle mass and get that "pumped up" look. But exciting new evidence from medical researchers suggest that weight training can reverse memory loss and actually help to regenerate the brain, especially in older adults.

That's right, by working out with heavy weights you can give your brain a boost and improve your memory at the same time as you are building physical strength. The 2014 findings, originally published by Georgia Tech researchers in the journal Acta Psychologica, show that a 10 percent boost in memory can occur as soon as within two workout sessions.

And there's one other way that weight training is good for your brain. A Harvard Medical School study showed that strenuous resistance exercise helps to stimulate the release of chemical hormones in the brain that boost brain cell health and promote brain cell regeneration. That is in line with other studies showing an improvement in mental functioning in people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. You can think of weight training as helping to protect your brain from future memory loss.

Add in the fact that weight training has been shown to strengthen bone structure and reduce the likelihood of broken bones and osteoporosis among older adults, and you have the beginnings of a real case to made for fitness in older adults as both a fitness and wellness alternative.

For seniors, then, it makes sense to find ways to integrate a certain degree of weight training into an overall low-intensity fitness regimen that may already include walking, swimming or biking for cardiovascular health.

However, for adults over the age of 55, there may be limited appeal in signing up for a membership gym or investing in a set of heavy weights. Signing up for a gym can be expensive and time-consuming, while using heavy weights without the use of a trainer or spotter could be dangerous. For adults over the age of 55, it's far too easy to cause damage to the back by trying to lift too much, too soon.

One possible solution is an all-in-one home gym that combines a number of resistance exercises for every muscle group of your body, including arms, legs, chest and back. In some cases, these all-in-one machines contain as many as 75 different exercises, making them extremely flexible in devising the ultimate workout routine.

Best of all, these machines don't require free weights or heavy dumbbells, so there's no risk of injury - and no heavy clanging noises of weights dropping to the floor. Many of the best machines are designed for all-over toning, rather than bulking up dramatically. They are intended to take your muscles through a full range of motion, giving them the maximum burn.

Not only are you getting all the strength, flexibility and wellness benefits of a good workout, you're also boosting your brain's cognitive functions. Think about that for a second: every time you're doing a leg extension on these machines - the same kind of exercise recommended by the Georgia Tech researchers - you're also lengthening and extending your brain cells. Now that's a smart move!

Graham Forbes is a 70 year old educator and health and fitness blogger who regularly writes on the issues of fitness and wellness for Boomers. His website http://getfitnessathome.com provides advice on how and why many people should set up their own health and fitness program. Graham is an example and advocate of fitness that is achieved gently and with enjoyment.

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