Leg exercise: Use it or lose it

It is critical to brain and nervous system health

In a new take on the exercise truism ‘use it, or lose it’, researchers show neurological health depends as much on signals sent by the large leg muscles to the brain as it does on directives from the brain to the muscles. 

The authors claim their work “fundamentally alters brain and nervous system medicine”, giving new clues as to why patients with motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and other neurological diseases often rapidly decline when their movement becomes limited.

"Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted," says Dr Raffaella Adami from the Università degli Studi di Milano.

The mouse study involved restricting the animals from using their hind legs, but not their front legs, over a