Women aged 65 to 75 who did an hour or two of strength training exercises each week had better cognitive function a year later, the New York Times reports. According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, the women who participated scored higher on tests of brain processes that are responsible for planning and executing tasks. In the study, 155 women did strength training with dumbbells and weight machines once or twice a week; a comparison group did balance and toning exercises. One year later, those who did strength training did better on tests of what’s called “executive function” by 10.9 per cent to 12.6 per cent, showing a better ability to make decisions, resolve conflicts, and focus on subjects without being distracted. Those who did balance and toning exercises had a deterioration of 0.5 per cent. The paper appears in the Jan. 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.