Our brains are not only fantastic computers, but they have the ability to heal and re-work themselves. When we exercise our bodies it helps the blood and oxygen to flow through the brain which helps to keep it running smoothly. Recent studies have shown that one of the most beneficial exercises that we can do for our brains is strength training.
The Well section of the NY Times states that the participants in this study were between the ages of “65 and 75” who had existing lesions in the white matter area of their brains. The women were put into one of three different groups in the study.
One group of participants took part in a once a week light training session that worked on the upper and lower body. Group two of the participants also did the light weight training but they did this twice a week. The third group of participants took part in stretching and balance training twice per week.
The Brain Scans
The study that was conducted on how strength training affects the brain took place for one full year. At the end of that year all of the women went through brain scans, as well as having their walking ability tested. The scans of the women in group three showed more lesions than before the study began. The women in group one also displayed similar results as those in group three on the scans.
The women in group two displayed some fascinating scans at the end of the year. This was the group of women who lifted weights two times per week for the year. These women displayed less white matter shrinking than the other groups. The lesions that they had in their white matter before the scans grew a small amount, but nothing like those of the other groups. The women in group two also displayed better balance and faster walking speed than the other two groups.
The results of this study show that while lesions in our white matter may be unavoidable the overall brain and muscle control can be helped through weight lifting exercises. No matter what age the person is, be it young or elderly or somewhere in between, exercise and strength training can benefit the body as well as the brain.