While exercise in general is known to be important for overall health as well as for brain health, numerous studies have revealed a strong link between leg strength in particular and brain health.
Exercise in general improves health and brain function in the following ways:
Improves and increases blood circulation (oxygenation) to the brain and throughout the body reducing heart disease risk and improving cholesterol;
Increases energy levels;
Helps with weight loss;
Builds and maintains strong muscles and bones;
Reduces and alters the way damaging plaques reside in the brain, slowing development of Alzheimer’s.
Recent research actually shows exercising leg muscles helps the brain to produce new nerve cells as well as neurons. According to the findings of lead researcher, Raffaella Adami: “Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises — such as patients who are bedridden, or even astronauts on extended travel — not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted.”
The primary takeaway of the new findings is that weight-bearing leg exercise “tells” the brain to produce healthy neurons, which are key for our ability to cope with stress and life changes. Weight-bearing exercise includes things like dancing, walking, hiking, climbing stairs, tennis, and weight-lifting. One of the best whole body exercises I do regularly are squats and they definitely exercise the legs.
What do you think about the connection between your legs and brain?
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