New research suggests a link between leg strength and the ability of the brain to resist ageing.
It may sound an unlikely relationship, but scientists have discovered that strong legs can make for a strong mind.
The ten year study reveals a ‘strikingly protective relationship’ between leg muscles and brain performance, leading researchers to suggest that strength building exercises such as lunges and squats, could also help to keep your brain fit. Simple lifestyle changes such as walking or standing more could also be beneficial.
The research tracked healthy female twins aged between 43 and 73 and found that generally, the twin who had more leg power at the start of the study sustained their cognition better.
‘Identical twins are a useful comparison as they share many factors such as genetics and early life which we can’t change in adulthood,’ explains lead researcher Dr Claire Steves from Kings College London.
There is growing evidence that physical activity can help you to look after your brain as well as your body,’ adds Dr Doug Brown, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society. ‘However, we have yet to see if the improvements in memory tests actually translate into a reduced risk of dementia.’