Pensioners should start pumping iron if they want to keep Alzheimer’s at bay, scientists said last night.
A study found lifting weights can improve cognitive function in those aged between 65 and 75.
Dr Teresa Liu-Ambrose, assistant professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia in Canada, said: ‘We were able to demonstrate after simple training with weights, that seniors can easily handle improved ability to make decisions quickly.
‘Additionally we found the exercises led to increased walking speed, a predictor of considerable reduction in mortality.’
Previous studies have shown walking and swimming enhances brain and cognitive function.
But many pensioners are too frail for these activities – although they could cope with resistance training, including lifting weights.
Meanwhile the Archives of Internal Medicine journal has published three further studies which show the benefit of physical exercise for the elderly.
The Technical University Munich found moderate activity can halve the risk of dementia.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found women who exercised in middle age benefited from better overall health when elderly.
And a study from Germany’s Friedrich-Alexander University linked exercise to denser bones and a lower risk of falling.