Brain Walking

In this day and age of interesting graphics and visuals, the words brain walk conjure up a funny mental image.

But the truth of the matter is that brain walking, meaning getting some exercise by talking brain and body for a walk is very important for your brain, which makes it important for any process in your body which needs a highly functioning brain.

(Can you think of a process not requiring a healthy brain?)

In the last couple of decades, we have discovered some very important information about the human brain.

One fact is that it continues to grow new brain cells throughout its existence, which is very important to those of us with older brains who are worried about dementia.

What is the single most important factor of four pillars of brain health?

Physical exercise, one of which could be brain walking. Chapter Six of Brainfit for Life, by Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D. is called "Taking Your Brain for a Walk", interestingly enough, and Professors Evans and Burghardt have provided us a powerful resource for brain walking, including some good information on the difference between physical exercise and physical activity.

The good news is both are beneficial for neurogenesis, and the intensity and regularity of our brain walks is totally up to us.

There is a down side though, if we do not continue once we start, the benefits slip away quickly.

They call that UIOLI, for use it or lose it.

In the words of the authors;

"The best way to start as you begin to incorporate

physical activity/exercise into your life is to do so slowly.

Start with increasing your physical activity. This will help. For

example, all the advice you’ve heard a thousand times before

(but haven’t followed yet): take the stairs instead of the

elevator; park your car away from the store entrance; walk on

short-distance errands instead of driving. It will be important,

however, to eventually incorporate some fitness-appropriate

exercise. Again, if you are new to this you should work with a

professional and your physician to define a routine that’s right

for your level of condition.

Another idea we want you to accept is that you should

strive for ‘prehab’ over ‘rehab.’ With prehab you build up your

reserves, your health bank account that you can draw from on

those rainy-days when you need a little extra cushion to protect

your brain’s health. If you are continually working on your

physical health, when you do experience a little extra

challenge, you will be much more prepared to deal with it."

I was worried initially that it would be necessary for me to buy an expensive club membership, hire a personal trainer, and buy lots of expensive equipment to insure neurogenesis thought out my senior years.

Not true, according to Scott and Angie Tousignant. They say in their e-book More Love, Less Fat that we can work out at home using tools no more complicated than an exercise ball and dumb bells and stairs.

All I need to do is practice something called HIIT, short for high intensity interval training, and I get to define what high intensity is for me.

So can you imagine doing callisthenics from your school days in 30 second intervals for ten (10) ten minutes a couple of times a day?

Or just taking your brain out for a walk around the neighborhood for ten minutes, moving fast enough that it is hard to talk and move at the same time will go along way toward ensuring that neurogenesis that helps us through our dotage. Let me remind you why, from Evans and Burghardt again.

...."Other studies have shown the importance of physical

activity on decreasing the susceptibility to heart-disease,

diabetes and cancer. In addition there is an ever strengthening

link among these diseases to mood and cognitive disorders. To

beat our point into the ground further, more and more scientific

studies show the link between physical activity and improved

mood and cognition. So in this case 2+2 does equal 4, and

increased physical activity is essential to all aspects of our

health, and subsequently our quality of life. What is starting to

come to light is the vital importance of physical activity on

brain health."

I do not think any brain walk is complete with some novel learning challenge, especially when my brain is pumped up and all the neurons are flexed and the axons are stretched.

That is when I want to do my dual n back task, or Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro to cement those new neurons into place.

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Would You Share Something That You Are Grateful For?

When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.

Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.

Have a question and want to talk with a therapist? Call 815-316-2621 for Julie Logan, LCSW, RN. 7121 Windsor Lake Parkway, Loves Park, Illinois 61111

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