How often have you heard someone say “my memory isn’t what it used to be?” As ageing progresses, many of us will be making the same complaint and this is particularly common in menopausal females. Being in that age bracket myself, I confess to having some issues with memory also. Interestingly studies have found that changes in brain function can begin in our 40’s.
So is there one single thing that you can do to improve memory, increase energy and control your weight? Well the answer to that is yes. In a recent study of older women with mild cognitive decline, it was found that twice weekly resistance training produced significant improvements in memory tasks. This was compared to 2 other groups of comparable women – one group doing aerobic training and the other doing balance and toning work. As well as showing improvements in the Stroop Test, the study also found functional changes in three parts of the cortical brain.
Whilst the aerobic group improved their balance and cardiovascular capacity no significant changes were found in memory.
So how does this help to increase energy and control weight? The most obvious outcome of resistance training is building muscle. In my clinic I routinely measure active tissue mass using a Bioimpedance Analysis and what I find is that most females are deficient in muscle mass.
It is not surprising that many of these people with low muscle mass also have issues with fatigue and excess weight and here’s why. Inside our body we each have energy powerhouses known as the mitochondria. These energy powerhouses are found in every cell of the body but interestingly muscle has up to 100 times more of these powerhouses. So to increase energy it is vital to build muscle.
Any exercise will help control weight if it is done regularly enough, but building muscle is a key to ongoing weight control. This is because muscle mass uses more energy or burns more calories than fat mass.
So if you want to know how to increase energy, to improve memory and control your weight, the answer is to start doing some resistance training. This doesn’t mean that you have to be at the gym “pumping some iron” with the big boys, but getting some advice from a personal trainer about suitable resistance training and putting in some work, several days a week, is a must for each and every one of us.
Reference:Weight Training Aids Memory in Older WomenBy Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today.Published: April 23, 2012.Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner