According to a new study out of the University of Alabama, resistance exercise (the kind that uses bodyweight, bands, bars or dumbbells) can improve cognitive abilities, such as attention, reasoning and memory. Published in the journal Psychological Research, the study analysed results from more than 20 papers looking into the effect these types of workouts have on physical health.
To do this, four main areas of interest were identified: cognitive outcomes, including composite cognitive scores, screening measures of cognitive impairment, measures of executive function and measures of working memory.
The results showed that resistance training had a positive impact on all of these cognitive abilities, except measures of working memory. This was put down to the cognitive demands of resistance training, which require planning and focus on form. And as working memory doesn’t play an important role while lifting, it does make sense as to why this part of the brain didn't show any improvement.
Bottom line? When in doubt, go lift! Your muscles - and mental state - will thank you for it later.