Train Your Brain

Exercise is not only important for a healthy body, but also for a healthy mind.The incidence of getting Alzheimer’s Disease is about 4% at the age of 65 and increases to 50% at the age of 85. Some believe that everyone has Alzheimer’s Disease and it’s just a question of the degree. We have a blood-brain barrier that is intact when we are healthy. Its purpose is to contain things in our blood. When those vessels travel through the brain, they make sure that nothing leaks out into the brain that shouldn’t. As we get older, we experience aging associated changes in our blood vessels, including the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. You begin to spring leaks in your brain, and they wreak havoc on the ability of the brain to function. It is found that those with Alzheimer’s Disease have a material called amyloid that characteristically accumulates in their brains. Amyloid is found all over your body but not in your brain. When your brain-blood barrier breaks down, amyloid now begins to flood out in the brain. The accumulation of amyloid is one of the hallmark characteristics of the disease.

Exercise seems to be a helpful tool to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. It is found by researchers that exercise alone can decrease the risk by 50% and 40% risk can be cut down by following proper diet. Blood flow is reduced and our cardiovascular system becomes weak when there is little or no exercise. When blood flow reduces, tissues can get damaged and the cells will begin to die. Both the heart and the brain is kept healthy by doing regular exercise as blood flows more strongly through exercise. Certain neuroprotective substances in the body are created and boosted by exercising regularly. When there is more physical activity, the brain automatically becomes active as both are interrelated.

It is also important to keep up mental stimulation. Individuals that continue to stimulate themselves mentally are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. There are many ways to keep your brain sharp and working hard. Try learning something new (foreign language, musical instrument, tweek an existing habit like using the opposite hand to brush your teeth), play some strategy games (Sudoku, scrabble or online Brain Builder, Luminosity).

Try some of these ideas to keep your brain stimulated and sharp:

  • Read a book
  • Play an instrument
  • Play challenging games
  • Memorize famous passages
  • Learn poetry
  • Do the crossword puzzle
  • Do Sudoku puzzles
  • Solve word or math problems

With a healthy diet and including exercise for your body and your brain, you can help reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease in the future.

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Brain Fitness

The human brain is the thing which distinguishes human beings from other animals and has enabled human kind to reach astonishing heights. Neurobics is a term to describe exercises that help the brain stay fit.Specific types of sensory stimuli and activities, especially those that involve non-routine actions and thoughts, produce more of the chemicals that encourage growth of new dendrites and neurons in the brain. Routine activities become so automatic that they are completed largely unconsciously. This means they require less activity in the brain, and exercise it less. There are many games and products on the market to improve the brain’s functioning by keeping memory and cognitive skills sharp. However, physical exercise has been proven again and again, to be essential for brain health.

Brain Benefits of Exercise

  • Improves circulation and brings oxygen in to the brain.
  • Increased breathing and heart rate sends more blood to the brain, enhancing energy production and waste removal.
  • Studies with elderly patients show that walking will improve memory, learning ability, concentration and abstract reasoning.
  • Decreases chances of cognitive decline.
  • Those of us who wiggle their fingers and toes before getting out of bed in the morning activate nerves that stimulate the brain and internal organs – helping us feel more alert and active in the morning.
  • Exercisers have better “executive functioning.” This includes planning, organizing, and the ability to take on many intellectual tasks simultaneously.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cognitive decline is not inevitable. A 25 year old brain has a similar amount of brain cells compared to a 75 year old.
  • Exercise improves and even cures mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
  • Neurobic activity should do one or more of the following:

    1. Involve one or more senses in a new context.
    2. Involve your full attention.
    3. Break your routine in a significant way.

    Neurobics do not have to be complicated. They also don’t require that you set aside special times for them. As long as they follow the guidelines above, many simple activities make for good brain exercises, and can be worked into your normal day.

    Some fun games and effective brain routines are Rubik’s cube, Sudoku, using your brain instead of a calculator, memorizing your grocery list, studying a new language, listening to music, engaging in debates/discussions, reading a book or playing chess.

    Fun brain games are a great way for enhancing the reasoning and logic skills. Reasoning and thinking skills are crucial for solving problems efficiently and quickly and also making important decisions in day-to-day life. The most important concepts of reasoning and logic include quick decision-making, abstract thinking and selecting the best options. Brain games tend to test your brain and force it to use its capabilities.

    What we eat every day affects the performance and long-term condition of our memory. Surveys in recent decades have shown that certain foods can contribute to the better functioning of the neural circuits of the brain that control memory. Fish and foods that contain a lot of omega oils nourish the brain, and this can help improve your memory. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet and avoids foods that are high in sugar.

    Maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat right and get your daily exercise. Ensure that you indulge in the brain workout regularly because if the brain is not challenged for a long period of time it tends to reduce its capacity to work efficiently. The brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

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