Senior age or elderly people should get into bench pressing and leg pressing to help preserve brain health.

Many people of senior age worry about developing problems with memory or other cognitive tasks.

It’s never too late to improve mental function by developing stronger muscles.

Brain Health Linked to Muscle Strength

A very interesting study shows that greater muscle strength is associated with better brain function in senior age men and women.

For the study, the strength of 338 men and women (mean age 66) was measured.

• Grip strength
• Leg press
• Leg extension
• Leg curl
• Chest press
• Seated row

In this study, led by Heikki Pentikäinen and published in European Geriatric Medicine, hand-grip strength alone was not enough to be correlated to better brain health.

But when summation scores for the other strength training moves were factored in, the association became quite clear.

No Gain, No Brain

People of elderly age who don’t lift weights should start lifting to improve their brain health.

Very few senior age people, even men, are seen bench pressing at gyms.

“As long as you have a spotter, a bench press can be beneficial to senior citizens,” says Monica Charlton, certified personal trainer and Silver Sneakers certified trainer at All Inclusive Health, a personal training studio in New Orleans.

“By being on your back without the weight and pressure on the knees and joints, seniors can start at a lower weight, or even just the bar, to help build muscles in the chest and work the heart.

“To begin, you may even want to use dumbbells, as this can help get the same results, but with less strain on the body.”

The seated chest press as well while lying on one’s back will also train the chest, shoulders and deltoids.”

The leg press is another superb exercise for elderly men and women. Nearly can perform this exercise.


“Seniors who build muscles in their legs can produce lean muscle mass and lower blood pressure,” says Charlton.

“The good thing about the leg press for seniors is that there is no balance or coordination required.

“Although you don’t need to use your balance on the machine, it will still help improve your overall balance and strength by working your lower body in the pushing motion.

“Start out at a lower weight to reduce the chances of any injury, and then gradually go to a higher weight, as long as you don’t feel any straining.”

The bench press (or similar) and leg press will not only strengthen muscles, bones and joints, but will enhance brain health in older people.

Here’s a great question: Have you ever seen an advanced-age person with muscles who gets confused easily and forgets what he was talking about just minutes earlier?

monica charltonAll Inclusive Health’s training services include fitness/body composition assessments, nutrition planning, running programs and customized programs for clients with disabilities or injuries.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


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