Resistance exercising including weight lifting can strengthen the brain. Apparently weight training exercises produce a release of a special neuro-protective protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This is according to new study presented at annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. Weight lifting exercise caused the release of this nerve protecting protein that helps to support the survival of existing neurons in the brain, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.
Researchers reported on a study of 20 college-aged men who were enrolled in a trial to determine whether repeated resistance exercise resulted in increased circulating BDNF after exercise. The study authors report that blood levels of the BDNF protein increased 32% from resting levels at 1 minute after exercise compared to the baseline levels. This study showed a robust and transient increase in circulating BDNF concentrations with weight lifting exercises.
The incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease is lower in people who participate in regular exercise programs. This may be in part due to the beneficial affects of this neuro-protecting protein (neurotrophins).
Increasing the amount of these near protective (neurotrophins) proteins can have a positive effect on cognition, mood, emotions, and several other domains of brain function. Additional studies may focus on ways to maximize the release of these beneficial proteins.