As exercise routines move into our everyday spaces, a gym membership is no longer a necessity for getting fit. From workouts at home to easy exercises you can do at your desk, there are no more excuses for letting a busy schedule trump your workout. But according to a new study published in Gerontology, not all at home workouts are the same in terms of strengthening our minds. In fact, there’s one particular part of our body we should be focusing on if we really want to stay mentally fit. That’s right, not only will you get ridiculed on the Internet if you skip leg day but you might just get dumber too.
According to a study by researchers at King’s College London, the strength of our leg muscles is a good indication of how healthy our brain will be as we age. The team, led by Dr. Claire Steves, studied 324 healthy female twins with an average age of 55 over a period of ten years. During the decade of research, the team tested the twins’ thinking, learning and memory function through various computer tests. They also tested their muscle power, particularly in their legs, and tracked several other aspects of their lives. Out of all the lifestyle factors that they tested, the team found that leg power was a better predictor of cognitive change than anything else. That means we may have control over how our cognitive abilities age. According to Dr. Steves, “It suggests that simple lifestyle changes to boost our physical activity may help to keep us both mentally and physically healthy.”
Although the study concludes with a push for more research in different age brackets and for more tests to truly understand why leg muscles are a good indication of aging mental health, their findings are great news for anyone wishing to increase their long-term cognitive health. Plus the study is a great reminder for all of us to push through those pesky squats.
What’s your go-to leg day exercise? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo.
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