People who don’t lift weights often make fun of those that do.
“Why are weight trainers always looking in the mirror?”
“Why are they so vain?”
“They look so big, why does that?”
This is what I hear from non-weight lifters. Let me tell you, lifting weights is truly a great experience. Your body responds, builds muscle, works hard and ultimately is stronger. What could be bad about that?
We know that exercise can make your body better. That’s obvious. Can it help your brain?
I just read this; it’s awesome. (I really hate that word.)
You may not know, but your critical memory ability shrinks 1- 2% a year after age 55. Our brain also, a new study found that women who did weight training twice a week for a year had less brain shrinkage than those who trained once a week or did stretching exercises, though the cognitive significance of this effect is not yet clear. Check out Forbes article.
Wow, maybe exercise does more for us than we think.
Apparently exercise in humans increase the level of protein called neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, in the blood and brain. BDNF promotes the growth and formation of new neurons, and can increase the size of the hippocampus that is linked with improved memory.
My own experience makes me realize that exercising, especially weight training does many things for my mind.
- My body feels lighter. I don’t mean that I’ve lost weight, but that I feel better in general. Problems don’t seem as important as they did before.
- Lifting weights takes focus. It is hard to think about the rest of the world when you’ve just added more weight to the bar! In between weights, I think about other things but not when I’m actually lifting.
- I know it increases blood flow in my body. I have a sense of well-being, which only comes from lifting the weights. I love Yoga and Pilates but weights are different.
- It improves mindfulness. Mindfulness is the new health buzz word for 2016. One thing about weight training, it can put you into another zone. I had never thought of it as mindfulness.
Whatever you decide to change for 2016, don’t forget the value of exercise. Stay tuned for more about exercise and cognitive changes.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping business improve their sales and marketing strategies for over twenty years. Reach her at [email protected]