I hate to sound like a broken record, but it's weight-lifting.
Physical activity has been shown to prevent cognitive impairment in older adults. A research study was conducted at the University of Florida and published in the July 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study measured the daily activity levels of older adults and linked that to cognitive performance.
The study found that older adults who expend relatively high amounts of energy in their daily lives are substantially less likely to become cognitively impaired than those who exert less energy. The study states that, “The more energy spent, the lower the likelihood of cognitive impairment. Patients with the highest levels of energy expenditure were 90 percent less likely to become cognitively impaired than those with the lowest levels of expenditure.”
Kirk Erickson, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology and the Center of Neural Basis of Cognition at the University of Pittsburgh, conducting studies of his own using imaging technology and found that one year of participation in modest amounts of exercise can reverse Alzheimer’s-related atrophy in parts of the brain involved in memory formation.
Now, the study participants were not specifically lifting weights as part of their physical activity. Their physical activity was more likely daily household tasks, walking around, gardening and just leading an active lifestyle. At Fast Twitch we enthusiastically support any kind of active lifestyle, and if gardening is your thing, then get out your pruning shears and your rake and go nuts.
Weight-lifting is just another way to be active, and the researchers who conducted the study most likely didn’t know the first thing about proper weight-lifting and thus didn’t try to include it in their study, which is not to diminish their work. If they had included a sensible weight-lifting program into the mix, they might have seen even greater results due in part to the improved balance, strength, flexibility and increase in lean mass that can all be achieved through weight-lifting.
All this is to say, being physically active every day can keep your mind sharp for basically your entire life, and on top of that you’ll look and feel better.