Believe it or not, the body's physical strength has a lot of impact on the brain. The fitter you are, the sharper your brain is – giving just another reason to adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle. Along those lines, a study by the NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Australia, used handgrip to measure muscular strength and revealed that stronger people perform better in brain functioning tests.
So what does a person's handshake have to say about how healthy their brain is? Turns out, it's directly proportional. In simpler terms, the stronger, firmer your handshake, the healthier your brain is.
"Our study confirms that people who are stronger do indeed tend to have better functioning brains," said study co-author Joseph Firth from NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Australia. The study is now published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.
But hand grip doesn't only determine the brain's health. A previous study was able to link a strong handshake with a healthy heart too. But when it comes to the brain's health, the researchers have also expressed their interest in figuring out if increasing body's strength could improve brain health.
"We can see there is a clear connection between muscular strength and brain health," Firth said. "But really, what we need now, are more studies to test if we can actually make our brains healthier by doing things which make our muscles stronger — such as weight training," he added.
The same group also conducted researches in the past that were able to prove that aerobic exercise has a positive impact on brain health. "These sort of novel interventions, such as weight training, could be particularly beneficial for people with mental health conditions," Firth mentioned.
"Our research has shown that the connections between muscular strength and brain functioning also exist in people experiencing schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder — all of which can interfere with regular brain functioning," he added.
"This raises the strong possibility that weight training exercises could actually improve both the physical and mental functioning of people with these conditions," he said.