Brain Workout Programs

Do the words brain workout programs bring to mind images of your brain doing curls or sit-ups, maybe some jumping jacks, or burpees?

Actually, physical exercise is a key piece of any brain workout program, but I am guessing that since you are searching online, you are looking for a program that you can use at your computer, and there are a growing number of programs like that available.

In fact, the first ever brain fitness program (that I am aware of ) opened 4-30-09. The owner/operator of this bootcamp, Tori Deaux, is one of the first people to put together a comprehensive training for brain fitness, which incorporates a number of tools for a brain workout program. Since it is starting April 30th, I am not sure what all she is going to include, but I am excited to start.

There are also a number of other resources available for you to use stand alone or in combination.

If you are going to create your own brain fitnesss workout, I think you start with a book written by Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt, Ph.D. called Brainfit for Life. Professors Evans and Burghardt are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan and they have culled the research for brain workout program nuggets and tips and put together a a very readable book that helps you understand what are the four cornerstones of brain workout programs. That kind of program must maximize nutrition, exercise, novel learning, and sleep components, so I am sure Tori Deaux's program will include work in those areas.

Other Brain Workout Programs

Other brain workout programs that I use are the Posit Science Brain Fitness program, Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, ABT's Brain Builder, and the Lumosity program.

I chose to try out the Posit Science Program after I read a book by Norman Doidge, MD, called The Brain the Changes Itself. He interviews Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., the chief creator of the Posit Science Brain Fitness program in that book, and I was very intrigued by his ideas, so I bought the program and have worked with it since last summer. It trains the neurons involved in the auditory system, and has been researched while being used by Boomers and Senior citizens. At 69, that designation fits me.

After using the program for only a short while, I noticed an improvement in my ability to pull up the exact word I wanted when I needed it, which is important in my work as a counselor. This particular brain workout program requires the most time to complete, and is the most expensive. Weighed against that is of course, is the cost of dementia, and its devastation for your family.

Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro is another very powerful brain workout program, and the research on it is amazing. It trains something called fluid intelligence, and it sure helped my concentration. It is less expensive than Posit Science, and takes less time, 1/2 hour per day for about 20 days in the standard protocol, with maintenance practices subsequent.

The research that this program is based on is discussed in Brainfit for Life which was a very important double check for me. You can easily follow your progress, and the experience of Mind Sparke can become quite, well, not quite addictive, but you will look forward to your next practice. Feedback after each training block will be available, and I should warn you, progress is not a linear, straight ahead kind of thing. Some days you are more attentive than others, and perhaps you will become interested in what makes those days different than other days, and soon you will be living a brain healthy life just to score higher on Mind Sparke. 

The next brain workout program I tried, and still use, is the Lumosity program, which is a fun, easy and quick to use, online subscription program, with quick feedback about my progress.

It is perfectly adopted to use in between calls and clients, as a brain brightener. Gets me out of my last session and ready for another. 

One of the important things to consider in your brain workout program is nutrition. Our brain needs a lot of nutrition and it needs it all the time. While our brain is roughly 2% of our body weight, it uses about 20% of our fuel, and needs some very specific nutrients, one of the most important being omega 3 fatty acid.

While there appears to be some controversy about which food to get it from, and whether we can make the long chain DHA omega 3 fatty acid in our body from the medium and short chain omega 3, there is no controversy over our need for it.

Evans and Burghardt state that the fish oil variety is what is necessary for my neurons to be supple and process signals from surrounding neurons better, but they caution that omega 3 from fish comes with the possibility of mercury (a poison to humans) inclusion, so they suggest considering a supplement which is refined effectively. Hope you enjoy creating your own brain workout program. There is so much more knowledge available about what we can do for our brains.

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