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Weight Lifting and Your Brain

Not only does lifting weights improve your body’s physical composition, it actually improves your mental health. Exercise has been show to improve mood and cognitive function.

Recently the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, published and article on Resistance Training and White Matter Lesion Progression in Older Women. The study involved 155 women ages 65 to 75 who had never participated in any type of resistance training. Some had preexisting white-matter lesions in the brain. The study found that those who did some type of strength training workouts twice a week for about 40 minutes at a time had a slower progression of these white matter lesions.

Since white matter lesions in older adults tend to impact their mobility and cognitive functions, I was curious what this means for people living with Multiple Sclerosis? First, what are white matter lesions?

What matter lesions are groups of dead cells that form¬†together in the white matter of the brain. The brain is made up of gray and white matter; information is stored in the gray matter and the white matter is responsible for sending and receiving information throughout the body. These types of lesions can be found in the the brains of the aging population, people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and Multiple Sclerosis, to name a few.

So, if there is any chance that strength training in particular (my favorite) can reduce or slow the progression of lesions forming in my brain, I’m going to do what I can. My hope is that more research can done and that Neurologists start to implement exercise into their therapy recommendations for their MS patients.

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