The Brain Power resistance training study published earlier this year showed that 12 months of once-weekly or twice-weekly strength training improved executive cognitive functions (selective attention and conflict resolution).
The study included 155 women aged 65- to 75- years-old. Resistance training was done in 60mn-classes using a leg press and free weights. It was compared to a control, balance and tone training group who used stretching, range-of-motion, basic core-strength, and balance exercises as well as relaxation techniques.
A few days ago the results of the one-year follow-up study were released: Seniors who participated in a strength training exercise program shows sustained cognitive benefits as well as savings for the healthcare system.
Surprisingly, the group that showed sustained cognitive benefits was the once-weekly strength training group rather than the twice-weekly training group. The authors of the study speculate that this group was probably more successful at maintaining the same level of physical activity achieved in the original study.
On top of the cognitive benefits, economic benefits of once-weekly strength training were also sustained 12 months after the original study: The once-weekly strength group incurred fewer health care resource utilization costs and had fewer falls than the twice-weekly balance and tone group.
This study shows once again how physical fitness is directly related to mental fitness. At all age, exercising the body benefits the brain. Interestingly, aerobic training is usually related to better cognitive performance. This new study shows that resistance training can be added to our list of exercise to do.