Did you know that your legs could hold the key to more brain power?
Staying fit is a great thing. You feel good and also have the gains to show for it. People who have adapted a training regime cope with stress better and get to keep their weight in check. While the idea of training to promote mental alertness is not new, you might not know the connection between your leg strength and mental agility.
Leave alone the already known rewards of a good training regime such as regulating hormones, pressure and metabolism, sturdy legs indicate that your brain is healthier. It is one way to keep your mental fitness well into old age. All you need to do is get some exercise in for your legs; run, dance, or walk more often and you will stay sharper through life.
Yes, exercise really does make you smarter!
According to science, a physical workout not only helps you gets things off your chest but also makes you smarter. If you are wondering if you’re able to become a better thinker or improve your memory, the answer is a solid ‘yes!’ At least according to a highly credible study.
It might not sound like the most likely of links between your legs and brain power, but the connection has been found. Before you dismiss it as the work of a single study that probably ignored a few variables, you should know this; the study was conducted with twins. The thing is, twins eliminate a lot of the variables that would typically occur. They have been exposed to the same type of environment from a very young age and share a lot of genes too. It gets even better in the case of identical twins as all their genes are the same.
Dr. Claire Steves, a senior lecturer at Kings College in London used this same set of rules for her study. She and her colleagues searched the TwinUK registry for healthy, middle-aged women with twins and selected 162 sets. For 10 years, the twin pairs had their memory and mental aptitude assessed. Along with this, their metabolic health and muscle power were recorded.
Upon focusing on the muscle strength of the twins’ legs, researchers found some physical changes between the sets which were bound to come about over time. This is despite the fact that they were born with the same leg strength. The new assessment of their leg muscles indicated either a sedentary life for one or a relatively more active one for another. In such cases, both twins were healthy but one had weaker leg muscles.
The results of the study showed that if one twin had more leg power than the other 10 years earlier, she was almost always the sharper thinker now. The difference in mental aptitude wasn’t a small matter neither, it went up to 18% for memory and other cognitive tests. Dr. Steves said that it still revealed more about their differences in brain capacity as the leg-stronger sister had more brain volume, thus less empty spaces.
So, there you have it. By exercising your legs, you can further develop your brain and get smarter; who wouldn’t want to look good at get clever while at it? Turns out that your limbs are a lot handier than just base appendages for walking around or kicking a ball!
By building muscles we can make ourselves feel good, look more attractive, and get smarter, all at the same time! Let’s do it!
Wishing you strong legs!
Originally published at mindbodynetwork.com