By exercising their brains, Australian scientists have found that lifting weights with one arm can improve the strength of the other.
In a breakthrough discovery likely to revolutionise post-stroke and other rehabilitation care, researchers from Edith Cowan University found that by training one arm, patients could improve strength and decrease muscle wastage in their other arm – without even moving it.
Participants in the research had one arm immobilised for a minimum of eight hours a day for four weeks.
The group was then split into three, with some performing no exercise, some performing a mix of exercises and the rest performing eccentric exercise only.
In eccentric exercises the contracting muscle is lengthening, such as when lowering a dumbbell in bicep curls, sitting on a chair slowly or walking downstairs. This type of exercise was found to be most beneficial.
Edith Cowan University’s Professor Ken Nosaka, from the School of Medical and Health Sciences, was part of the international study.
He said that the findings challenge conventional rehabilitation methods.
“I think this could change the way we approach rehabilitation for people who have temporarily lost the use of one arm or one leg,” Professor Nosaka said.
“By starting rehab and exercise in the uninjured limb right away, we can prevent muscle damage induced by exercise in the other limb and also build strength without moving it at all.”
(The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. Please see your medical professional for information tailored to your personal circumstances.)
Support our universities to keep themselves in shape – sign the petition to #KeepItClever now.