Hail to the Dinosaurs!
Back in the day, people who lifted weights
were called "muscle-heads."
It wasn't because people thought they were
smart. It was because weightlifters and body-
builders were viewed as "all brawn and no
This view was so common that one reporter
actually had the audacity to ask World weight-
lifting champion Doug Hepburn the following
question during an interview:
"How does it feel to be all brawn and no
To which Hepburn famously replied, "I don't
know -- what's it like to be neither?"
But a couple of months ago, there was a report
of a study that measured the effect of weight
training on the brain.
Our brains contain something called "white
matter," which connects the different parts
of the brain and allows them to communicate
with one another.
As we grow older, we often begin to develop
gaps or holes in the white matter -- which in
turn affects our ability to process information.
Thus, we may have trouble remembering things,
concentrating, or even thinking.
The holes in the white matter also affect our
balance, coordination and mobility.
Now, frankly, that sounds pretty terrible --
but hold on, because the new study gives us
plenty of hope.
The recent study compared three groups of
women between the ages of 65 and 75.
One group did light weight training once a
Another group did light weight training twice
The third group did stretching and special
balance training twice a week.
The researchers performed brain scans on the
women before they began their programs --
and repeated the scans one year later.
The results were shocking -- at least, they were
shocking to the researchers.
The women who trained with weights once a
week, and the women who did balance training,
had significant deterioration of the white matter
in their brains after the year of training had
The women who did weight training twice a week
had much less deterioration of their white matter.
They also walked and moved much better than
the other women.
The researchers concluded that training with
weights twice a week or more has some sort of
beneficial effect on the brain. In essence, it builds
the brain just as much as it builds the body.
The researchers don't know the exact mechanism
by which weight training strengthens the brain.
It may be that the same chemical and hormonal
changes that cause muscle growth also cause
the growth of the white matter in the brain.
Or it may be related to improved blood flow to
the brain as a result of the training.
But whatever the exact growth mechanism, the
bottom line is this:
Weight training makes your brain stronger,
younger and healthier.
All brawn and no brain?
I don't think so.
In fact, we may be moving toward a time when
regular weight training is reciognized as one of
the very best things we can do to keep our brains
healthy and strong.
And yes, that's a very important reason to start
training when you're young -- and to keep on
training for your entire life!
Yours in strength,
P.S. For maximum benefit, focus on the mind-muscle
link when you train. I cover this in detail in Dinosaur
The exercises in Dinosaur Dumbbell Training are also
great for brain and body health -- particularly the
P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right here
at Dino Headquarters:
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Build your body,
build your brain." -- Brooks Kubik