Today the Archives of Internal Medicine published results of a study that found that women aged 65 to 75 years who engaged in progressive strength training once or twice weekly over 12 months had improved executive cognitive functions and lower medical care costs than control women when evaluated again one year later.
Today's publication provides a follow-up on the Brain Power study which the Archives of Internal Medicine published inpublished in its January 2010 issue. The original study demonstrated that 12 months of once-weekly or twice-weekly progressive strength training improved executive cognitive function in women aged 65- to 75- years- old.
One report of the the study results released today states:
Both studies were led by Teresa Liu-Ambrose, principal investigator at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and Brain Research Centre at Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC, and assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UBC's Faculty of Medicine. The one year follow-up study found the cognitive benefits of strength training persisted, and with two critical findings.
"We were very surprised to discover the group that sustained cognitive benefits was the once-weekly strength training group rather than the twice-weekly training group," says Liu-Ambrose, who's also a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research scholar. "What we realized was that this group was more successful at being able to maintain the same level of physical activity achieved in the original study."
In this study, one group did once-weekly strength training, another did twice-weekly strength training, and a third group "control" group did something the authors refer to as "balance and tone" which according to a Vancouver Sun article featured "stretching, range of motion, core strength, balance and relaxation exercises."
According to the report, only the once-weekly group maintained the cognitive benefits at the follow-up. Strength training may keep you smarter than doing "balance and tone" training.
Regarding economic benefits:
The second important finding relates to the economic benefits of once-weekly strength training. Using the data from the Brain Power Study and the one-year follow-up study, health economists Jennifer Davis and Carlo Marra, research scientists with the Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at St. Paul's Hospital and UBC Faculty of Medicine, were able to show that the economic benefits of once-weekly strength training were sustained 12 months after its formal cessation. Specifically, the researchers found the once-weekly strength group incurred fewer health care resource utilization costs and had fewer falls than the twice-weekly balance and tone group.
"This suggests that once-weekly resistance training is cost saving, and the right type of exercise for seniors to achieve maximum economic and health benefits," says Davis.