This month, about female twins in the journal of Gerontology reported that muscle fitness, as measured by leg power, was a good predictor of cognitive aging, independent of genetic factors and environmental exposures early in life. they followed 324 healthy female twins for 10 years and check there cognitive health with neuropsychological testing two times during this period. There was a significant difference between the cognitive health of the twin who had more muscle fitness compared to the twin who didn’t. Better muscle fitness was also consistent with better brain structure in a sub-population analysis (higher volume of grey matter of the brain, assessed with Brain MRI. The conclusion was that like power predicted both cognitive aging and global brain structure even after controlling for factors such as genetics and early environmental factors, such as socioeconomic status, smoking and alcohol habits, diet, reading IQ, birth weight, and vascular risk factors such as heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, etc.
The message is that leg power may be a sensitive marker of the kind of physical activity that can influence brain health. Therefore, keep kicking your way to a better brain!