Strength training can help protect the brain from degeneration

For the first time, an intervention – lifting weights – has been able to slow and even halt degeneration, over a long period, in brain areas particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease. “Our research shows that strength training can protect some hippocampal subregions from degeneration or shrinkage for up to 12-months after the training has stopped,” Dr Broadhouse said.

For a diagnosis of dementia, four main conditions need to be satisfied: 

  1. impairment on multiple cognitive domains
  2. a definite decline in cognitive function
  3. exclusion of any possible medical causes for this decline, and
  4. the person is no longer able to carry out day-to-day tasks. 

In practice, the last criterion – being able to do one’s daily activities independently – is pivotal to distinguishing between cognitive impairment and dementia.