Specific strength training improves brain functions in seniors

The results of a study by German sports scientists show that combined strength and balance training significantly improves brain functions for memory, quick thinking and reaction time in senior citizens. Strength training methods alone do not show the same effect. For the study, the scientists from the University of Kassel divided the test persons into three groups; one of the groups completed a so-called instability strength training, i.e. a combined strength and balance training in which weights were lifted on wobbly supports. The other two groups trained on different equipment under stable conditions. At the beginning and end of the study, the participants completed cognitive tests. Only the participants in the instability strength training performed significantly better after the training than before.

Prof. Dr. Armin Kibele, head of the Training and Exercise Department at the University of Kassel, explains the results: “It is now recognised that exercise improves brain performance and can even prevent dementia. However, our study shows that this also applies to strength training, especially when training on unstable surfaces”.