LIVING HEALTHY Published November17, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Exercise the Legs, Improve the Brain

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Here's something interesting in science: according to a new study, leg power can improve cognition stability especially for older women.

The research conducted by King's College London and published in Gerontology reflects on the relationship between leg exercise and a woman's ability to retain good cognitive function once they are already old.

The study was conducted for a period of 10 years and participated by over 125 pairs of twins between the ages of 43 and 73 at the beginning of the study. The researchers measured their leg power and cognition using different tools. For the legs, they modified a gym equipment so they can evaluate both the speed and extension of the legs. For the brain, participants went through a series of computerized tasks that measure their mental processing.

The participants' cognition was assessed before and after the study while the leg power was determined at the beginning. Upon analyzing the results, they learned that those who had a high score in leg power at the start of the research were able to do well with cognition after a decade compared to those who didn't have good scores. The results hardly changed even if other factors including dementia were accounted for.

The researchers then believe that leg strength or power can be a good indicator of a woman's susceptibility to diminished cognitive function once he gets older. Further, they hypothesized the chemicals released by the body during exercise can help improve the brain's cognitive ability.

The results can add to the mounting evidence of the importance of physical activity to protect the brain from degeneration including disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

However, the researchers stressed that the study still requires deeper exploration. For example, the study wasn't specifically focused on degenerative diseases like dementia, and there's no proof yet that it can reduce the risk. Second, the study was conducted among women. It's unclear whether the same results can be expected among men.

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