One more reason why you shouldn't skip leg day: skipping could be affecting your neuron production

Here's why you’re making a huge mistake if you’re only training above the belt

One more reason why you shouldn't skip leg day: skipping could be affecting your neuron production

Ladies and gentlemen, let´s talk about leg day: even tough your core, back and arms are typically more noticeable, you’re making a huge mistake if you’re only training above the belt. 

Actually, our lower body is home to some of the biggest muscles in our body and, according to dailyburn, training them allows us to: 

  • Burn more calories. The largest muscles in your body require the most energy to function, so working your legs will likely increase the amount of calories you burn in a typical workout.
  • Develop stability in the knee in order to prevent injuries. 
  • Increase ouur metabolism. Lifting weights will help people build and maintain muscle mass. And when our body composition has more muscle, our whole engine runs faster. 
  • Build muscle. Although it's considered a lower-body lift, holding hundreds of pounds is one of the best ways to build our upper back, traps and grip.

Now, there is a new reason why you should never skip leg day. A recent study, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience at the end of last month, suggested that regularly moving our legs, especially when bearing weight, is essential for the production of healthy neural cells. 

"Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises, such as patients who are bed-ridden, or even astronauts on extended travel, not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted," said Dr. Raffaella Adami from the Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.

According to the paper, cutting back on these type of exercises makes it difficult for the body to produce new nerve cells, some of the very building blocks that allow us to handle stress and adapt to challenge in our lives.

To discover this, researchers restricted mice from using their hind legs, but not their front legs, over a period of 28 days. The mice continued to eat normally and did not exhibit stress. At the end, researchers examined an area of the brain called the sub-ventricular zone, where neural stem cells produce new neurons. 

Results showed that limiting physical activity decreased the number of neural stem cells by 70 percent compared to a control group of mice, which were allowed to roam.

“I have been interested in neurological diseases since 2004,” says co-author Dr. Daniele Bottai, also from the Università degli Studi di Milano. “The question I asked myself was: is the outcome of these diseases due exclusively to the lesions that form on the spinal cord in the case of spinal cord injury and genetic mutation in the case of SMA, or is the lower capacity for movement the critical factor that exacerbates the disease?”

“It is no accident that we are meant to be active: to walk, run, crouch to sit, and use our leg muscles to lift things,” concludes Adami.


Latin American Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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