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Strong legs tied to enduring brain health


If you can remember all your power metrics from a decade ago, you might chalk up your impressive memory up to having equally impressive quads.

We know that cardio exercise like cycling is good for your brain, and that lower-body strength training is good for your cycling. Now, a study published in Gerontology reports that there’s a compelling connection between lower-body power and enduring brain health. More simply put: Powerful legs mean a strong brain in old age.

In the study, a team of researchers from King’s College in London measured the leg power and cognitive ability of 324 twins ages 43 to 73, then tested their thinking, learning and memory again ten years later. At the end of the decade, the twins who had more leg power when the study began better sustained their cognitive ability and brain health than their weaker-legged counterparts.

What’s most interesting about this particular study is that it measured not just leg strength, but leg power, which means not just how much you can lift, but also your muscular force and speed, or the ability to do a lot of work—like, say, hammer a bike up a hill. It’s yet another argument for cyclists to lift a little aggressively, focusing on not just strength and stability, but also explosive power—something some riders are still reluctant to include in workouts.

Source: Bicycling.

What do you think about these findings? Do you put enough emphasis on leg strength in your workouts?

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