A new study suggests that exercising may help older women fight off full-blown dementia. What type of exercise? The answer might surprise you. It’s strength training. Surprisingly the study found that resistance training, commonly known as weight lifting, seemed to boost mental functioning among women, who were already experience signs of memory loss, while aerobic-based programs did not provide the same level of effect. Most studies to date have explored aerobic exercise, walking, swimming, and the like, but this study was unique in comparing resistance training to aerobic training. It was also unique in that it looked at pre-dementia patients – those, who were at high risk in terms of mental impairment, but not yet diagnosed.
Strength training is an essential part of a fitness program. It raises your metabolism, strengthens muscles and connective tissue, increases flexibility, improves immune system function, improves reaction time and balance, and increases bone density. Strength training consists of flexing muscles against some type of resistance. Sometimes that can be body weight (like pushups or sit-ups), other times an external resistance will be required (like using weights or exercise tubing for resistance). No fancy equipment is required – some dumbbells, kettle-bells, or exercise tubing will be just fine. You should consult your physician before beginning a structured exercise program. Also, make sure you are properly warmed up before starting a workout. SAFETY FIRST – Before you embark on a strength training program, it is suggested that you receive some professional technique instruction to avoid injury. This is especially true if you have any health issues.
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