Thursday, February 4, 2010

Strength Training May Help Women Maintain Cognitive Abilities

Older women who do one to two hours of strength training per week may stave off cognitive impairments associated with aging, according to a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and colleagues assigned 155 women ages 65 to 75 to a once-weekly or twice-weekly resistance training workout program or a twice-weekly balance and tone training exercise regimen. They found that after one year, women in the resistance-training groups improved their performance on cognitive tests by 10.9 percent to 12.6 percent, while women in the balance and tone group saw a 0.5 percent decline.

According to researchers, the results show that resistance training may not only improve muscular function in older women but also enhance cognitive functions, including selective attention, decision making and conflict resolution. They conclude that the findings have important clinical implications because there is currently no effective pharmaceutical treatment for cognitive impairment and resistance training is not a widespread practice among elderly individuals.

The Fauquier Health LIFE Center's exercise physiologists can help you set up a strength-training regimen that works for you. Try a week at the LIFE Center for free. Call 540-316-2640.

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