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Hit The Weights For A Healthier Brain

Working out daily is great for your overall health, but a new study from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society is saying that strength training can be the fountain of youth for a woman's brain.

As we age, our brains will develop age-related holes within the brain's white matter. The white matter of the brain is made of nerve fibers and myelin, which is the white part that is wrapped around the fibers -- giving it the technical term: myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is responsible for sending electrical impulses efficiently. However, when the sheath gets damaged over time, memory loss, poor balance and coordination, and shaking can set in.

Teresa Liu-Ambrose, the director of the Aging Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of British Columbia led a study where 54 women ages 65-75 were observed based on their gait speed and stability. Once the gait speed and stability were determined, the women were placed into three groups. The first group had women completing upper and lower body lifting workouts while the second group did the same but twice a week. As for the third group completed a stretching and balance routine twice a week. Each group maintained the workouts for one year.

At the end of the year, each group received a second day brain scan and physical abilities were tested again. The results: women who practiced stretching and balancing exercises twice a week had an increase in the amount holes in the myelin sheath and they had a slower gait. But the group who lifted twice a week had less myelin sheath damage and their walking improved.

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