Save your brain! Those of us that are the “other” side of forty know that some strange things start to happen with our thinking processes. Long time acquaintances rock up and it takes a while for their name to emerge from the ‘brain fog’. That actor from that film we love
you know the one with the dog and the old guy
What was his name again? Come to think of it, what was the film called?
Ever found yourself in a room of your house and wondered what the hell you came in there for? Got lost in a familiar area of town? Left your wallet at home when going out for dinner?
Don’t fret too much, some mild memory decline is almost universal but there are some things you can do to slow down and even stop the rot.
I would imagine most of you have heard about the helpfulness of brain exercises, puzzles and challenges that “work” the brain to keep it functioning at its maximum capacity.
Those who receive our newsletter have heard me extol the advantages of Omega 3 fatty acids (fish/supplements) for improving the brain, not to mention circulation improvers like gingko biloba which research suggests can increase brain function, but today I want to talk about the granddaddy of all brain improvers, exercise!
Not the brain exercises of Lumosity or others but actual physical exercise. Physical exercise has been shown to be the most potent brain improver that not only stimulates and improves cognitive function (like memory) but actually stimulates increased numbers of brain cells known as neurons. This should excite all us “oldies” because everyone can lift the amount of exercise they are doing.
So what is the best exercise, I hear you ask (and even if you didn’t ask I’m going to tell you), well surprise, surprise its weights! What the
? I know, I know you just had a vision of the muscle mountain at the gym whose head you can see through from one ear to the other
How can doing weights be connected to improved brain cell numbers and activity?
As it happens our muscles are actually excretory organs and when we exercise they release hormone like chemicals that can positively influence all our bodily systems including our brain
we also know that strength training causes a surge in testosterone which helps improve memory and thinking skills, but what’s really exciting is that strength training seems to actually stimulate replication (increased number) or brain cells.
For many years science thought that our brain cell numbers were basically fixed by the time we were about 3 or 4 years old but modern study of brain plasticity has blown that concept out of the water. Yay!
Learning new skills (killer back-hand), a language or formal study are not beyond us. So get in the gym, or buy a couple of ankle weights and hand weights and start working out
for those wanting a gentler start to resistance training then hydrotherapy, aqua aerobics, pilates or even yoga can be a great option.
Not only will your physical fitness and hence your game improve but you might find your tactics improve as well.
For those looking for some inspiration watch the TEDx talk online by Charles Eugster titled “Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGgoCm1hofM
Carry on exercising!