An interesting finding from a survey done by Kings College London has shown a surprising link between leg power and brain health. Of course genes and environment also play a role in brain health. The study was done with 324 female twins.
Leg strength was measured by asking the participants to be seated and press on a pedal much like the brake of a car with as much power as they could expend. Other tests encompassed lung function test and grip strength. Of course vital parameters such as blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol were checked.
The leg muscles are the largest muscle group in the body and any good fitness regimen must include exercises to develop and train them. Other benefits associated with physical activity such as better blood circulation and improved immunity also contribute towards lesser age-related cognitive decline.
Exercise releases chemicals and hormones in the body, some of which help boost brain health. Nerve cell growth is encouraged and this plays the key role in maintaining better cognitive function.
Sturdy legs could mean healthy brains, according to a new study of British twins. Older persons with comparatively stronger leg muscles have better mobility than those with weak legs. Loss of muscle strength is also associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Exercise gives your body a dose of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, all of which work towards making you feel good. There is increased production of BDNF or brain-derived neurotropic factor. This is essential in new brain cell and connection formation in the hippocampus. This growth hormone also offers protection against stress-related brain damage.
In fact the journal Neurology quoted a study which recorded that lack of exercise in your 30s and 40s can lead to shrinking brains.
Building your leg muscles and improving lower body strength could go a long way in strengthening your mind too. Keep up the walking. In fact, run or even dance! Squats and lunges could be added to your fitness routine.