I could see brain classes in community college schedule books soon, perhaps as a continuing education class, and as research continues to advance what we can legitimately claim for brain fitness, perhaps even four year schools or graduate schools would include a brain class, or an improve your brain class.
Research is advancing the concept rapidly, and brain salons and brain fitness programs are popping up at senior centers around the country.
What might a brain class include?
Brain Classes-Physical Exercise
I have not seen a brain fitness blog or website yet that does not speak to the benefits of physical exercise for brains of all ages.
In fact, the new current administration may be moving toward a position that health care is a right, not a privilege, and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D. says ..."In his editorial, Redwoood agrees. In fact, he specifically mentions nutrition, exercise, stress-reduction and social support as ingredients for true prevention. He points out that while the Obama administration has acknowledged these factors as important, it remains to be seen whether this will be backed up by any budgets or whether it is just lip-service, as it has been for decades in the current healthcare system."
So a brain class would definitely speak to the need for physical fitness and the other ingredients mentioned above that are part of brain fitness.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to rearrange itself, actually its synaptic connections, in response to novel challenge, with novel being a very important word.
As a counselor, reading another book about counseling will not increase synaptic connections. Learning a new language or starting piano lessons would encourage neuroplasticity, which is very good for the older brain. Don't have to master it folks, just do it, for the brain to benefit. All the neurons involved in the circuit learn to fire together, and the more active the circuit is, the longer the brain keeps it.
Not too long ago neuroscientific dogma said that brains do not grow new neurons past age five or so. That appears to be an overturned dogma, and we can grow new neurons. Neurogenesis can be encouraged with, you guessed it, novel challenge, exercise, nutrition, stress management, and good sleep.
You will want to rush out for some dark chocolate for its phytochemicals. (But not milk chocolate!)
The best foods for our brains and our bodies are foods eaten as they are grown, preferrably locally grown.
Processed foods have the nutrition milled out of them, are filled with appetite stimulants, msg, which is an excitotoxin, and high fructose corn syrup, and processed foods contribute significantly to obesity, which is not good for your brain.
Processed foods are built, engineered actually, for long shelf life, not nutrition.
Brain Classes-Novel Challenge
Novel challenge can be supplied by commercially available brain software, like the following programs, which I use as part of my brain fitness training.
Lumosity is an online subscription program, perfect for halftime or between calls or between clients. Regular quick, brain brightening exercise on your schedule, with increasing challenge as you improve.
Posit Science is the granddaddy of brain fitness programs, if one can call a few year old concept a grandaddy. There is one program for vision and one for auditory neuro-circuits. Keep them all firing.
And Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro is a program which can increase your IQ score. Please read the research. It is excellent.
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