The brain is mission control for every function of the body. It tells your heart how fast to beat, It tells your lungs when to breathe, it stimulates the production of powerful enzymes and hormones that allow for digestion and protein production. The brain literally is where all health, healing and bodily function comes from. In order for the body to perform as it is designed to do, particularly in healing itself, the health of a person’s brain must be a top priority. Just as a person should never drive drunk, don’t live with a brain that is inebriated. Brain training should be a part of a healthy lifestyle. The most important organ is our brain and so we should train it everyday!
Medical experts from Harvard Medical School recommend brain exercises that are designed to improve memory, thinking skills and improve overall brain health. By improving brain health a body reduces the risk of developing age related dementia while at the same time stimulating the growth of new blood vessels within the brain which revives and rejuvenates brain cells. In addition to direct effect upon brain health, certain brain training exercises help minimize the effects of other conditions that can “drain the brain” such as insomnia, anxiety, and stress. By exercising regularly, within six months a person can increase the volume of the brain’s pre-frontal cortex and medial temporal cortex, the parts of the brain which control memory and thinking.
The first thing to do to train the brain is to get up and start moving. Aerobic exercise provides the best benefit for brain health. Experts advise a minimum of two hours of aerobic activity such as brisk walking. The standard prescription from doctors for people who want to improve brain health is to engage in moderate activity for about half an hour four or five days weekly. Don’t like walking? Try swimming or tennis. Who doesn’t like dancing? Go on a date with a loved one for an evening of dancing on a regular basis. Date night can be brain health night. Sometimes a person can get in a workout unofficially. If you have raked leaves all afternoon, consider your brain “trained” for the day. Even a long day of intense housework can cause a person to work up a sweat and get a thorough workout.
Exercise must become part of a daily routine in order to reach the maximum potential for your brain. It is not uncommon for a person to set out with the best intentions, making a positive change in lifestyle that lasts for about a week or so. If sticking with a routine is a disciplinary skill you lack, there are ways to reinforce your healthy living choice to exercise your brain.
- Join a fitness class
- Pair up with a friend or neighbor
- Keep an exercise journal
- Hire a personal trainer if it’s in the budget
Exercise should become just as routine as taking a vitamin. It is the primary ingredient in a lifestyle recipe to have a command and control center running at optimum efficiency.
If you are a social creature, there is great scientific news for you. Researchers report that social activities such as gaming and crafting can help improve brain health and memory. Have absolutely no guilt about getting together with friends for a game of bridge. Log on for some computer gaming time, strategizing to accomplish complex missions. Call your quilting club to find out when the next get together is.
The Mayo Clinic conducted a Study of Aging that concluded that computer gaming and computer based social activities reduced the likelihood of memory loss and cognitive function decline in more than forty percent of the participants in the study. The rate of risk for memory loss consequently raised with a reduction of activities. The bottom line of the study is that by staying social and having fun, a brain is trained to think more clearly and remember better.
In addition to feeding the brain healthy nutrients with a balanced diet, add exercise and fun to a healthy lifestyle regimen. Brain function will improve and the brain will literally increase in size.