Do not skip weights at the gym next time. It is equally important as your aerobic exercise that has been associated with improved cognition. A new study has found that anaerobic resistance training for muscle strength may help delay the onset of Alzheimer's and even relieve the symptoms.

A group of researchers from the Federal University of São Paulo and the University of São Paulo in Brazil evaluated the impact of resistance training on cognitive abilities through a mice study.

During the trial, the researchers observed mice that underwent resistance exercise for over four weeks had fewer amyloid plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease. They also had a higher number of microglial cells, a type of immune cell that helps to clear the plaques.

The mice were less agitated and moved less around their space. Blood tests conducted at the end of the trial showed reduced levels of corticosterone in them, indicating reduced stress. These are positive signs that resistance training works against Alzheimer's as increased agitation and stress are associated with the disease.

"We wanted to investigate whether this type of exercise would have any stressful effect, and to our surprise, what we found that, not only was it not stressful, but it reduced stress compared to the sedentary group! And more importantly, exercise was also able to reduce beta-amyloid levels in the hippocampus, and in another study by our group, neuroinflammation was also reduced by decreasing levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines," said Henning Ulrich, a corresponding author of the study.

Although the exact mechanism by which exercise helps Alzheimer's is not known, researchers believe it may be due to reduced inflammation, improved blood vessel function and hormonal regulation from increased physical activity.

During the resistance training exercise, when muscles are worked against a weight or a force, substances known as myokines are released into the body. Researchers believe these myokines with anti-inflammatory properties may help with Alzheimer's.

"There's an increasing amount of data that highlights the positive impact of physical activity on preventing Alzheimer's disease. The research indicates that active individuals are at a lower risk of developing this disease compared to inactive ones," Sumeet Kumar, a geneticist and Parkinson's disease researcher who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today.