RECENT COMMENTSAprive Wellness on Your Brain on Meditation: Great post Holly, thanks for sharing Jeremy.
When working out, we often emphasize physicality, and overlook the mental component of fitness. Nurturing the mind will help you think more clearly, perform more awesomely, and smile more because life will be just that good.
It may sound cliche, but the truth is if we don’t use our brains, we are more likely to lose them. For example, a baby’s mind is like a sponge, constantly absorbing new information from the environment and making new connections. However, as we grow older our brains tend to become less receptive to learning new information. By the age of 40, genes that are associated with learning and neuroplasticity tend to shut down. As a result of these physical changes in the brain, many people experience age-related declines in cognitive ability. Fortunately, there are effective ways we can prevent these declines in cognition, learning, and memory – and perhaps even improve them as we get older. Research makes it clear that challenging ourselves is one of the most effective ways to maintain brain fitness.
In 2011, the World Alzheimer’s Report also discovered that other cognitive stimulating activities such as playing music, cooking, and having lively discussions with others could also improve cognition in those who already have dementia. These are just some suggestions on ways to continuously challenge your brain, but obviously there are many other ways too. Another big way to maintain cognitive fitness is to surround yourself in enriching environments.
This was first discovered in 1947 when psychologist Donald Hebb found that rats who were raised as pets performed better on problem-solving tests than rats who were raised in cages.
Today psychologists know that enriched environments can help reduce cognitive impairment involved with normal aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, prenatal stress, and a variety of other physical and mental health conditions. Some examples of more stimulating environments may include spending more time in nature, museums, concerts, and other events. In 1960, Harry Harlow discovered that when infant monkeys were partially or completely deprived from social engagement, they were less likely to develop normal cognitive and emotional functioning.

A lot of these are good for brain fitness for many reasons, but especially because they are quality spent social time. If you are not very social, consider starting small by only hanging out more with family or close friends. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular have shown to be associated with improved mood and cognition. The Emotion Machine is a self improvement website that shares practical tools and advice that anyone can apply to their everyday lives.
With today's health trends, people of all ages and all lifestyles hit the gym multiple times a week.
I have been working in the brain fitness(brain games etc) space since 2001 and we have come along way. Your brain diet should include omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found fish, nuts, seeds and legumes, and antioxidants, which can be found in most fruits and vegetables. Engaging with others (at crossfit or other!) can reduce stress and promote emotional health. It’s designed to absorb new information from its environment and build neural connections based on what it learns from those experiences. And by the time we reach the age of 65 or older, the chemicals in our brain begin to make dramatic changes, such as decreases in serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate, all which are important for healthy brain functioning.
In addition, individuals 65 and older have a one in 8 chance of developing age-related dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, which severely inhibits your ability to think rationally, solve problems, learn new things, and form memories.
Research has found several key factors that are associated with keeping our brains fit into old age.
As a general rule, trying anything new is going to help your brain grow and respond in novel ways. Research has found that individuals who are in more stimulating environments show bigger brains and more synaptic connections than those who are in less stimulating environments. In 1960, Mark Rosenzweig followed up this research and found rats who were raised in cages with toys, tunnels, and running wheels showed increases in the size of their cerebral cortex (a part of the mammalian brain which plays a key role in learning and memory) when compared to rats who were raised in normal cages. It will also help to change up your home and office environment every now and then, maybe by putting up new decorations or moving furniture. In a more recent 2004 cross-cultural study published in Neurology, researchers found that individuals who had bigger social networks and who were involved in more social engagement showed less cognitive decline into old age.

Which is not too surprising, since our brains have evolved to make us a very social species. For example, one thing psychologists found was that exercise during childhood led to a faster rate of cognitive development. But, while we're so concerned about exercising our bodies to meet today's aesthetic standards, we forget about our minds and strengthening them in the now and for the future. There has been significant scientific studies over the last 5 years that illustrate how we can maintain and develop our cognitive skills through our lifespan. Exercise affects the nervous system, and leads to the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. It’s the only uninterrupted opportunity for the brain to improve blood flow as well as to boost neural growth and brain connectivity. Another important feature of a healthy diet is protective antioxidants, which can be found in many fruits, vegetables, and green tea.
Children who were physically inactive tended to perform worse on academic exams and neuropsychological tests, while children who exercised showed improvements in memory, attention, and decision-making. A new San Francisco based business is trying to bring brain activity into the mainstream, by offering a fitness gym called Vibrant Brains.
My favourite part of WODs is the “Question of the Day.” The randomness of the questions helps build rapport and collegiality, and just lightens the mood. And, try to be consistent with your sleep schedule (I strive for a 9pm-10pm bedtime, and a 6.40am workday wake-up #Gramma) because this helps promote better sleep. The freedom of thoughts, and peace of mind can come from anywhere –meditation, yoga, or my favourite, reality tv. Blueberries and strawberries, for example, have shown to improve memory and cognition by cleaning out toxins in the brain that cause age-related memory loss and mental decline. Created with Baby Boomers in mind, the brain gym can help keep minds sharp today and prevents the onset of mental impairments in the future.Encouraging brain fitness in a manner that's similar to physical workouts, Vibrant Brains offers monthly memberships for $60 that allows people of all ages to exercise their minds and improve their cognitive skills. For those who prefer the circuit training style of workout, there's the Neurobics Circuit which consists of 50 of Vibrant Brains top selection of stimulating computer-based activities.

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