Fitness for 50, fitness for 60, fitness for 70, and even fitness for 80.
There are two gentlemen that I see at my YMCA almost every day working out who are over 80 years old.
One swims, and one does an excellent cardiovascular workout, calisthenics and walking.
Sometimes they argue about who is older.
They are great examples for me at age 64, of the benefits of getting out and exercising.
In fact, I do not feel just right, until I have gotten my workout in for the day.
And when I workout, part of each workout is dedicated to my spiritual health. Once I get some deep breathing going on the stair master, the treadmill, or the elliptical trainer, and have altered my brain waves to alpha, I am open to insights and that is a great time to do my daily prayer and meditation.
If I cannot get to the YMCA, then I work out at home.
I like to model my home workouts on the HIIT model, or high intensity interval training, which is a ten minute workout doing any of a number of exercises for 30 second increments. I can choose the exercises, and move at my level of intensity.
My home workout is not a boot camp, in other words.
If you are looking for a HIIT training model, then I suggest you look at what
Scott and Angie Tousignant have put together. I like that their model can be used by couples. At my age, my relationship with my wife is very important, and any thing we can do to build it is very important, including any kind of deep breathing we can get into.
A few years ago, I read a very interesting book called The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge,MD, which really left me excited about keeping my over 60 brain fit for a good long time, which is important because I have children who are 11 and 5.
I do not want to lose my mind to alzheimers if at all possible, and Doidge makes a compelling case that brain fitness can be worked on and enhanced just like a bicep can. That's right, stretch your neurons and flex your dendrites or crunches for the cortex.
In his book, Doidge interviews Michael Merzenich,Ph.D. who is one of the creators of the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program and one of the leaders in the field of neuroplasticity, which means that he is studying how neurons connect to each other when taken care of and challenged with novel learning experiences.
Apparently, that kind of learning can happen in moments, and if I am not working on a novel learning experience, like learning a new language or learning a new instrument, or using a computerized brain fitness program, then my brain actually dismantles connections, which is not good.
If you want to look at a resource which explains all the brain fitness stuff, then I recommend
Brainfit for Life which will give a very clear picture of what is necessary to take care of brain fitness, including some information on the research behind one of the premier brain fitness computerized brain fitness programs, Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro.
I went ahead and included links to the Posit Science Program from Michael Merzenich mentioned above, and the Mind Sparke. I use both of these programs and enjoy them all, and feel much more secure about the future of my word recall, for example.
Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D co-authors of Brainfit for Life write about what we need to do to take care of the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences.
Sounds like what we heard from our parents when we were kids, right? Well, there are some tools available now that refine our skills, and increase my chances of more rather than less neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
One of those tools is a much greater understanding of the nutritional needs of our human brain including a daily dose of omega 3 fatty acid, either through fish, or supplements. Our body can build it from our diet, but the best way to get it is from fish, unless you are worried about mercury poisoning. Perhaps a supplement is in order then.
So fitness over 50 is something we better get after right away if we are to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Oh, and the authors of the SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness recommend the HeartMath emWave for stress management.
I have been using that tool with my anger management clients for a long time, and HeartMath has some excellent brain fitness attributes too. Check it out, folks.
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