I’m here with my weight today to share some information about brain health and strength training. I have a coaching colleague and good friend, James Beeman, who is diligently going to the gym. He’s been doing so for more than a year now. He has built up his strength to be able to leg press more than 600 pounds, which absolutely amazes me. And by the time this you read this, he may have already surpassed that as well.
James and I were talking about some recent research he had come across about how strength training improves cognitive function.
And there’s a thing called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is representative of if our neurons are growing, if we’re creating new ones, and if they’re surviving. The more BDNF, the healthier the brains and their neuronal function will be.
This study found that those who had done strength training for six months had a 2.6% increase in their actual BDNF. And the more interesting piece around that is that with this increase, there was also a 13+% increase in the improvement in executive functioning. Executive functioning has to do with the smart part of the brain that allows us to make good decisions and be focused on goal-directed behavior.
BDNF, strength training, all of these things working together really are an important piece for growing your brain, improving and maintaining brain health, which goes well beyond taking good brain supplements and that sort of thing.
Here’s another fascinating article where Kelly McGonigal shares the benefits of exercise on the brain.
So get those weights out — probably heavier than this little one — and grow your brain in the process.
Tune in next time for more brain-friendly tips, and while you’re here, be sure to learn about our ICF-approved coaching programs! If you have questions or curiosities you’d like to explore, our team is excited to connect with you about our courses, our neuroscience-based approach to coach training, and so much more. Contact us for more information, or schedule a call to explore your questions and curiosities.