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Powering Up Your Mind: 7 Action Plans for Improved Cognitive Health with Resistance Training

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7 Practical Action Plans for the Brain. Unveiling the Cognitive Benefits of Resistance Training"

Blos Post Series 9: Sweat Smart - Supercharge the Brain Power.

Asking too much exercising? But this is the way human body is created. 7 Practical Action Plans for the Brain are Based on the 3 Big Benefits of Resistance Training to the Brain.


Dearr Readers,


When we think of resistance training, images of barbells, dumbbells, and muscle building typically come to mind. It’s widely recognized for its benefits in improving physical strength and endurance, but what about its impact on our brain health?

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Intriguingly, a recent study by Chow, Moreland, Macpherson, and Teo, published in 'Sports Medicine' (2021), reveals a fascinating connection between resistance training and cognitive function. Let’s delve into how lifting weights and resistance exercises can do much more than sculpt our bodies – they can also sharpen our minds.


The study by Chow et al. dives deep into the central mechanisms of resistance training, particularly focusing on its effects on cognitive functions. This comprehensive review examines how engaging in regular resistance training can lead to improvements in various aspects of cognitive health.


Summary of Key Insights:

1. Enhanced Brain Function: Resistance training goes beyond physical fitness; it significantly boosts brain functions like memory, attention, and executive skills. These improvements are essential for managing daily life more effectively.

2. Neuroplasticity: This form of exercise plays a crucial role in promoting neuroplasticity, which is the brain's remarkable ability to form new neural connections. This process is vital for learning, memory retention, and recovery from injuries.

3. Reduced Cognitive Decline: The research also points out that regular resistance training can slow down cognitive decline, an aspect that becomes increasingly important as we age.

Understanding the scientific benefits of resistance training offers us a roadmap to not only improving our physical health but also enhancing our cognitive abilities. The key insights from the study are transformative, shining a light on how such training positively impacts our brain's functioning.

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7 Practical Action Plans:

In my previous blog, "Beyond Weight Gain to Brain Decline," I emphasized the need for solid strategies to effectively execute our action plans. It's important to remember that our brains are creatures of habit, often resistant to change in our routines and environments. A great tactic is to start with the simplest tasks – like the 'chair stand', a beginner's exercise that doesn't require any gym equipment. Keeping the plan straightforward and celebrating small successes can really boost your morale. That sense of 'winning' is crucial for maintaining consistency.

When it comes to increasing the frequency, duration, and intensity of your exercises, remember: slow and steady wins the race. For example, when you're ready to step up your game, consider only a 5% increase in what you're currently doing, and maintain that for at least two weeks. This gradual approach helps prevent injuries and ensures that your body adapts safely to the new challenge.

We all get excited about moving up to heavier weights or extending our walking distance, but patience is key. Rushing into these changes can do more harm than good. Injuries are definitely not on the agenda for anyone looking to improve their health. So, let's take it one step at a time, listening to our bodies and celebrating each little victory along the way! Here are the 7 practical action plans for the brain functioning better and reviving.

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1. Incorporate Resistance Training into Your Routine:

Start by adding simple resistance exercises to your workout regimen. This can include free weights, resistance bands, or body-weight exercises such as push-ups and squats.

2. Gradual Progression: Begin with lighter weights and fewer repetitions, gradually increasing the intensity as your body adapts. This approach ensures that you gain the cognitive benefits without risking injury.

3. Regular Practice: Aim for a consistent routine, integrating resistance training 2-3 times a week. Consistency is key in achieving and maintaining the cognitive benefits.

4. Diversify Your Exercises: To maximize neuroplasticity and brain health, vary your exercises. This not only keeps your workouts interesting but also challenges your brain in new ways.

5. Mindful Engagement: While exercising, focus on your movements and the muscles being worked. This mindfulness aspect can further enhance the cognitive benefits of your training.

6. Combine with Other Healthy Habits: Complement your resistance training with aerobic exercises, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. These holistic lifestyle choices support overall brain health.

7. Consult with Professionals: Especially for beginners or those with specific health concerns, consulting with a fitness trainer or healthcare provider can provide personalized guidance and ensure safe practice.

By applying these insights and action plans, we can make the most of resistance training, not just as a tool for physical enhancement but as a powerful ally in boosting our cognitive health and overall quality of life. Remember, the journey towards improved brain function and reduced cognitive decline is not just about exercising your body but also about nurturing your mind.

How to do Resistance Exercises Safe:

Determining the ideal volume of resistance training, including repetitions, sets, and rest time for improving cognitive health, isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. It can vary based on individual fitness levels, age, and training experience. However, general guidelines can be provided based on research and fitness principles.


1. Repetitions:

   - For general health and cognitive benefits, a moderate number of repetitions is often recommended. This usually falls in the range of 8-12 repetitions per set.

   - This range is effective for building muscular endurance and strength, which are linked to cognitive health improvements.


2. Sets:

   - Typically, 2-4 sets per exercise are recommended.

   - Starting with fewer sets and gradually increasing as your body adapts is a good approach, especially for beginners.


3. Rest Time:

   - Rest periods between sets can vary based on the intensity of the exercise. For moderate-intensity training (which is often recommended for cognitive health), 60-90 seconds of rest between sets is typical.

   - It’s important to allow your muscles to recover briefly, but not cool down too much between sets.


4. Frequency:

   - Engaging in resistance training 2-3 times per week is generally recommended for health benefits.

   - It's crucial to allow at least one day of rest between sessions for a particular muscle group to prevent overtraining and promote recovery.


5. Intensity:


  - The intensity should be moderate, which means lifting a weight or choosing a resistance that is challenging but still allows you to complete your sets with proper form.

   - A common guideline is to choose a weight that allows you to complete your reps while feeling like you could do a few more at the end of each set.


6. Duration:

   - A total workout session, including warm-up, resistance exercises, and cool-down, typically lasts between 45-60 minutes.


Additional Considerations:

   - Incorporating a variety of exercises that target all major muscle groups is important for overall health.

   - Exercises should be performed with proper form to reduce the risk of injury and maximize effectiveness.

   - As cognitive health is also influenced by cardiovascular health, combining resistance training with aerobic exercises can provide comprehensive benefits.



It’s important to remember that these are general guidelines and individual needs and capabilities can vary. It's always recommended to consult with a fitness professional or a healthcare provider, especially for those new to exercise or with pre-existing health conditions. They can provide personalized advice that aligns with your health status and fitness goals.




The study by Chow and colleagues opens up a new dimension in our understanding of resistance training, highlighting its potential to not only strengthen our muscles but also our minds. As we continue to explore the vast benefits of physical exercise, it’s clear that resistance training deserves a prominent place in our routines for a healthy body and a sharp, resilient mind.


Here's to a fit body and a sharp mind, at any age! 🌟🧠💪

Health Coach Meg

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To conclude this insightful journey into enhancing both our physical and mental well-being, remember that taking the first step towards a healthier lifestyle can be both exciting and transformative. As your dedicated health coach, I am here to guide you in seamlessly integrating exercise routines that not only build your body but also enhance your brain function. Together, we can work on improving your sleep quality and making meaningful lifestyle modifications tailored to your unique needs.


Don't let another moment slip by without taking action to boost your brain health and overall wellness. Reach out to us now, and embark on a journey towards embracing a new standard of fitness and mental agility that aligns beautifully with your age and lifestyle. Let's work together to make these crucial changes that will not just benefit you today, but also safeguard your health for the future. Contact us, and let's start this journey to a fitter, sharper you!

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Next Blog Teaser:

Stay tuned for next blog about our favorite topic, Sleep. How to improve the quality of sleep and how the brain is affected by it.


- Chow, Z.S., Moreland, A.T., Macpherson, H., Teo, W.P. (2021). The Central Mechanisms of Resistance Training and Its Effects on Cognitive Function. Sports Med. 51(12):2483-2506. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-021-01535-5. PMID: 34417978. 



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