Getting grandma to lift weights can actually improve her attention, problem-solving and memory, a new study has found .
Research from the University of British Columbia and the University of Iowa split 86 women between the ages of 70 and 80 into three exercise groups ‘ aerobic, balance and resistance.
The study targeted women with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), such as age-related memory, language and judgment problems. MCI increases the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
After attending classes twice-a-week for six months, women who did the resistance training – performing exercises such as lifting weights and squats ‘ showed the most significant improvement in cognitive function.
UBC study investigator Teresa Liu-Ambrose told CBC that the attention required during resistance training may require more brain power than aerobics, as walking comes more naturally.
Resistance training may also be saving health care dollars.
According to a study by UBC researchers published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, a once-or twice-weekly resistance class for senior women had more health and economic benefits than a twice-weekly balance and core-strengthening class. Resistance classes not only cost less to deliver in the community, but participants had less hospital procedures, laboratory tests and visits to their doctor. Seniors were also more likely to continue their exercises one year after attending the once-weekly resistance classes.
Exercise to delay dementia and Alzheimer’s could have a big impact. A 2007 study estimated that there would be 9.2 million fewer cases of Alzheimer’s in 2050, if the onset and progression of the disease could be delayed by even one year.
How do you do to keep your brain in tip-top shape?
‘Amy Crofts, web intern