A recent study published in the Journal of America Geriatric Society is gaining considerable attention. The team of scientists from around the globe had subjects perform 6 months of progressive, high intensity strength training and then measured several cognitive outcomes. The subjects included 100 men and women over the age of 55 who had reported some mild cognitive decline or impairment. Interestingly, most previous research has looked at the impact of aerobic exercise on cognitive function. This is the second major research trial published by this group on the topic of strength training and brain function.
Pertaining to aerobic exercise and more moderate intensity resistance exercise, the researchers stated, "the benefit of aerobic exercise was limited to verbal fluency (no other executive function), and did not benefit in memory in any trial". Additionally, more moderate in intensity strength training had an inconclusive impact on executive function.
The researchers concluded, "we have shown for the first time that 6 months of high intensity progressive resistance training improved the primary outcome of global cognition, as well as executive function and verbal/constructional memory in older adults that had previously showed some mild cognitive function.
The take home message....Intense strength training makes you smarter.