As if you needed another reason not to skip leg day.
Scientists at The King's College in London just found a correlation between strong legs and sustained mental cognition. They studied 162 sets of female identical twins over a 10-year period to see which health factors had the highest correlation with lasting brainpower that withstood the effects of aging. The average participant was 55 years old at the start of the study.
Since identical twins share the same genes, any differences between them must be spurred by environmental factors (like time spent in the gym).
The London study, led by Dr. Claire Steves, concluded that age-related changes in mental function were more closely associated to the subjects' leg power than any of the other lifestyle factors tested — including the more obvious ones like their heart health.
“It’s compelling to see such differences in cognition and brain structure in identical twins, who had different leg power 10 years before. It suggests that simple lifestyle changes to boost our physical activity may help to keep us both mentally and physically healthy,” Steves said in the study's report.
Exercise pumps brain-boosting chemicals like endorphins and serotonin into the body, so Steves' findings shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. She says that more research is needed to prove her hypothesis, but for now it's safe to assume that toned thighs indicate more than just strong muscles.
So anyone up for some squats?
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