Resistance training, exercise that causes muscles to contract, is meant to strengthen, but it may also help protect against cognitive decline. And you don’t need weights or other equipment, Northey says. The CDC recommends resistance training at least twice per week. Here are three tips to get you started:
Stand up, sit down, repeat. As long as you’re steady on your feet, try standing up from a chair without using your hands. Do this in sets of five or more anytime you find yourself sitting around the house.
Make daily tasks harder. Choose stairs over elevators and escalators. You’ll get an aerobic workout and build muscle at the same time.
Join a class. Northey’s study found that group programs incorporating resistance and aerobic training were beneficial for the brain. Check out the offerings at your local YMCA or senior center, and remember to talk with your doctor before you start any new exercise program.
Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2017 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.