Bodybuilders are not exactly known for being braniacs—but new research may blow up that old stereotype.
According to a study published last week, there is a strong correlation between physical and mental muscle.
The study analyzed data from more than 475,000 individuals from the general population who had participated in the UK Biobank, “a nationwide, health-orientated, cohort study aiming to investigate how peoples’ lifestyles, environment and genetics are related to various health outcomes.”
Analysis of the data showed that “on average, stronger people performed better across every test of brain functioning used,” including reaction speed, logical problem solving, and multiple memory tests. (Muscular strength was measured using grip strength, an accepted measure often used in research studies.)
What Does It Mean?
“We can see there is a clear connection between muscular strength and brain health,” said lead researcher, Joseph Firth, Phd. To be clear: That doesn’t mean strength training made people in the study smarter. It merely shows an association.
“Really, what we need now, are more studies to test if we can actually make our brains healthier by doing things which make our muscles stronger, such as weight training,” Dr. Firth said.
We agree. In the meantime, we’ll continue exercising all of our important muscles—at both the gym and the library.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)