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Strength training to improve your brain

Movement for Life, a column by

Lauren Walker All Fit/All Ages Gym

A study completed by the University of Sydney concluded the clear benefits of strength training for people living with dementia. Let's look at the information about the effects of strength training on your brain.

As part of the study, people were divided into groups. For six months, the participants did strength exercises for 90 minutes of supervised strength training, using dumbbells, weights or machines each week. They divided it into two 45-minute sessions, twice a week. The author of the study Michael Valenzuela noted the difference in the rate of degeneration of the hippocampus, which is the memory center. "In the control group, those sub-parts of the hippocampus were shrinking at an expected level of around three to four percent. In those doing weight training, we saw much less, so one to two percent and in some areas none at all." The conclusion is that strength training significantly reduces the brain's degeneration rate. To learn more about this study, go to

Why is exercise so good for the brain?

It is suggested the chemicals released during exercise help to stimulate plasticity in the brain. Repetitive exercise electrically also stimulates the memory parts of your hippocampus. It was clear in the study those participating in strength training had better cognitive outcomes than those who didn't.

Strength training can be beneficial for those managing dementia. While it is not a cure, this study strongly indicates "resistance exercise needs to become a standard part of dementia risk-reduction strategies." A specialized program with an experienced trainer, you or someone you love can reap the benefits.

All Fit All Ages Gym is located in the Food Basics plaza, beside Coldwell Banker. Please call 289-356-2140 for more information.

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