Weightlifting May Help Your Brain

Article posted in: Fitness

We’ve long encouraged people to get some exercise. Call it movement, call it action, call it whatever you want, but we know that getting up and simply moving around can be a powerful way to help you lose weight, while at the same time making you just plain feel good. If you’re on a Nutrisystem program, we encourage you to follow the US Centers for Disease Control’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG), which calls for adults between 18 and 64 to get 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate activity each week; it also calls for them to lift weights or do resistance training twice a week to aid muscle and bone maintenance.

And now a new study, reported in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, reports that two sessions of light weight lifting may slow the shrinking of some parts of the brain caused by aging. Similiar studies have found aerobic exercise to be helpful to the brain. Specifically, the study found that weight lifting appeared to have a slowing effect on the development of lesions on the white parts of the brain, the areas that allow intra-brain communication.

The Canadian study followed women who lifted once a week, twice or more a week, or not at all. The results were startling: the women who didn’t use weights, or did so only once a week, showed signs of continuing lesion development. But those who lifted twice a week showed fewer lesions. They also walked faster and with better balance.

The results suggest what any trainer would tell you: for maximum benefit, you need to hit the gym more than once a week. Your body, and your brain, will thank you.