To Work Your Brain, Exercise Your Body
The problem: I lost my car keys. What kind of brain exercise will make my brain work better?
The solution: Brain-boosting software programs are a booming business. And studies show that both computer exercises and old-fashioned mental activities-reading or crafting - can affect memory.
But the best thing you can do for your brain is to move your body.
"If I had to pick between fitness training and brain training, I'd go with fitness," said Sam Wang, an associate professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. So far, he said, exercise has been shown to have an effect several times larger than computer-brain exercise.
So are we talking about physical activity or physical exercise?
According to Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D., authors of the best brain exercise book availabe,
Brainfit for Life, there is an important difference between physical exercise and activity, and how both impact brain and body fitness.
They report that brain exercise or physical exercise does not need to begin with going to the gym for physical training, but can begin at home with a simple increase physical activity, those normal things we do around the house to maintain it, like a little extra walking each morning, now that it is spring. Push a lawn mower, rather than ride one, that kind of thing, is just the key to keeping the brain at its peak, so that it perceives accurately, and remembers well.
Why is physical activity so important to the brain? The brain needs quite a bit of energy, meaning food, and it does not store a reserve, so it needs blood flowing to it, and activity/exercise does that, gets the blood flowing to the brain, and when the brain has lots of blood flowing to it, it will build lots of arteries and veins which bathe the neurons regularly with nutrients and oxygen and remove waste, ect.
That is where the computer based programs can enter the equation, because when I provide my brain novel challenge, it will build dendrites and synapses to cement new learning.
However, if I do not cement those new connections inside my brain, they will be pared away, so just like regular physical activity/exercise, regular mental activity/exercise is necessary for the brain to "flex its axons and stretch its dendrites."
I need to do brain activity/exercise because if I do not, the subtle negative changes in my brain's ability to respond to my life from the lack of those things will soon mount to major problems.
So what computer based brain exercise can I combine with my physical exercise/activity?
By the way, if you want a powerful program that you and your wife can use to exercise at home, without expensive equipment, then do this. Believe me, it is a great, focused way to increase your level of physical activity without expensive workouts, coaches, or clubs. And physical exercise is what keeps us at our best brainwise.
Exercising with your partner can be a great way to deepen your relationship, which contributes to better brain health too.
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