The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

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The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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Cognitive effects of weightlifting improve students’ mental health and academic performance

Weightlifting, whether inside or outside of school, is modernly recognized for its array of physical benefits, helping athletes to improve their muscular strength, endurance and overall performance.  But the cognitive and neurological benefits of weight training are overlooked.

Resistance training can cause an improvement of overall brain functionality. By increasing the activity in the prefrontal cortex, lifting may improve attention span and reasoning skills. Additionally, lifting is known to improve memory and in some cases reverse memory loss. Resistance training also helps protect the hippocampus of the brain and decreases chances of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Furthermore, it can improve cognitive impairment and cognitive decline. 

Weight training coach Ryan Arnold is a strong advocate of the importance of resistance training. “Aside from the strength gains and increased athletic performance that comes from weight training, it’s important to understand that weight training can also impact your mind. Lifting will sharpen your mind and improve your focus, which will help you in other areas of your life outside of athletics,” said Arnold.

With improved cognitive performance, lifters may see improvements in academic performance, as stronger focus and concentration can help students better comprehend information and understand academic subjects.

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Resistance training also poses mental health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and improving one’s mood.

Senior Caden Rubel, who participates in PV’s weight training program in addition to lifting outside of school, believes that lifting weights reduces his stress levels. “When I go to the gym, it helps me take my mind off things. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll go to the gym, and it relieves my stress. It also clears my mind and mentally sharpens me,” said Rubel.

The overlooked cognitive benefits of weightlifting underscore the practice as not just a physical enhancer but a holistic booster for the mind and body. By incorporating resistance training into daily routines, one will not only improve muscular strength but also strengthen the mind against the challenges of mental health and coursework.

Weight training is a fairly easy activity to get involved in. For PV students, the easiest way is to sign up for PV’s weight training program. An alternative option is to buy weights or purchase a gym membership. Getting started is the hardest part, but there are countless resources for weight training on the internet. With experts like Coach Arnold and students like Rubel attesting to its advantages, it becomes increasingly clear that weight lifting is a habit with the power to sharpen the mind and strengthen resilience.

This story was originally published on Spartan Shield on November 13, 2023.