Study Finds Robust Association Between Leg Fitness and Brain Health

The New York Times published “Brawn and Brains” in the 11-18-15 issue.   This is a fairly long and detailed article reviewing fascinating research comparing the fitness level of twins and assessing their cognitive functioning. The study builds on previous research which finds a clear association between fitness and brain health, with clear implications for population health as our population ages.  The previous research had some limitations, as some of the findings could have been, at least theoretically, due to good genes.  The twins study found, however, that the results hold even for identical twins.  The authors theorize that working leg muscles, the large muscle group in the body, somehow releases biochemical that impact brain health.

This study supports the benefits of mental health professionals asking the people who consult us about their activity and fitness levels, and offering information and help with increasing their activity as part of a comprehensive wellness program.

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