Muscle strength and mental strength
An increase in muscle strength correlates with an increase in mental abilities
Anatoly Alizar, Geektimes, based on the materials of the University of Sydney: Increasing muscle strength can improve brain function
Scientific studies have repeatedly confirmed the positive effect of physical exertion on a person's mental abilities: concentration, memory, etc. The question is which loads are more useful: long-term aerobic exercises (running, cycling) or strength training (dumbbells, barbells, simulators). This question remains open.
Researchers from the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Sydney (Australia) conducted a study as part of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) program among people over 55 years old who showed the first symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (SCN). Note that such symptoms can manifest themselves not only in the elderly, but also in young people – under the influence of various forms of addictive behavior, that is, an obsessive need for certain activities. Such addiction causes a violation of mental functions.
So, as part of an experiment at the University of Sydney, for the first time, a clear connection was recorded between muscle adaptation to increasing power loads and brain functioning. In other words, the participants in the experiment had cognitive functions clearly correlated with muscle strength.
The participants of the experiment were divided into four groups:
- Strength exercises + computer training of mental abilities.
- Strength exercises + placebo computer training of mental abilities (watching nature videos).
- Computer training of mental abilities + placebo strength exercises (gymnastics).
- Placebo of strength exercises + placebo of computer training of mental abilities.
- Strength training included weight lifting sessions twice a week for six months. The weight for the exercise was chosen at 80% of the peak and increased as physical strength increased.
Cognitive tests based on the results of the experiment showed that mental activity improved qualitatively in the first experimental group.
Further research will help to choose the most effective type and intensity of loads that are recommended for older people to increase muscle strength and, consequently, mental abilities. Scientists also want to find the reason that causes the improvement of mental abilities in people after prolonged physical exertion. This will help to develop the most optimal program.
The results of the scientific work were published on October 24, 2016 in the Journal of American Geriatrics (Mavros et al., Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training).
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