A recent 2014 study shows something that some people may find unexpected…

…lifting weights at 80% of your 1 rep max as you work out, increased areas of the brain and so improvement in cognition, as backed up in MRI scans.

It goes to show that lifting weights may help ward off or delay dementia, concludes new research by Australian scientists.

“What we found in this follow-up study is that the improvement in cognition function was related to their muscle strength gains. The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Yorgi Mavros, of Sydney University.
The study that was done of a 6 month period, with those studied training at 80% of their 1 rep max.  The stronger they got, the bigger the response in certain areas of the brain.

The Dr concluded “The more we can get people doing resistance training like weight lifting, the more likely we are to have a healthier ageing population,” said Dr. Mavros. “The key however is to make sure you are doing it frequently, at least twice a week, and at a high intensity so that you are maximising your strength gains. This will give you the maximum benefit for your brain.”

The Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) trial was conducted by University of Sydney researchers in collaboration with the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at University of New South Wales and the University of Adelaide.

See the study:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1532-5415