Resistance training is any type of exercise that causes your muscles to contract against some type of resistance. The resistance might be an exercise band, a small hand weight, or even just gravity. Resistance exercise grows muscle, helps bones stay strong, and even supports cognitive health.

All it takes to build your body and brain muscles is medium-intensity resistance training. Haven’t lifted a weight in thirty years? Don’t worry! You can start small while gradually increasing the frequency and intensity of your workout.

Research suggests that resistance training increases muscle mass and strength while also positively influencing cognition. Science also tells us high depression scores are associated with diminished cognitive performance. So it makes sense that because moderate to high intensity resistance training improves mood, it can lead to better cognitive function.

Resistance exercises are easy to incorporate throughout your day. On days you can’t make time for 30 minutes of cardio, try to incorporate a simple resistance exercise into another activity you’re already doing like walking the dog, doing the laundry, or cooking dinner.

Quick resistance exercises

  1. Do calf raises while you brush your teeth.

  2. Do push ups on the kitchen counter while you cook.

  3. Do planks during commercial breaks while watching TV.

  4. Grab a bottle of water for each hand and take a walk around the neighborhood, lifting the bottles from knee to waist as you walk.