Fitness for over 50 covers a lot of territory. Are you a Senior Athlete, doing some training for marathons or triathalons or the Senior Olympics? Some of us are doing that.
Or are you perfectly satisfied to walk around the block with your favorite dog and keep your cardiovascular system idling along just fine with regular physical activity?
Perhaps you are like the the men I see at my YMCA, one of whom is a power lifter who began lifting when he was 50 or 55, or you are like Green Bay Packer fan Ray, almost 90, who exercises every day, or Chuck who roots for the Vikings, and played college football at Mankato State University in the 1950's.
I exercise in part because I have young children and want to be a vital part of their lives while they still really need me.
We are training for the general good feelings and health of it, rather than a sport or an event, and now there is even more reason to continue, or even train a little more diligently, because of recent discoveries about the benefits of physical exercise for our brain fitness for over 50.
Physical activity/exercise is the most important thing we can do to increase two newly discovered capacities of the human brain, neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Neurogenesis means I grow new brain cells every day, and what I am reading about the research shows that they migrate to the hippocampus where memories are formed (good thing for a Senior to have, those memories)if they are challenged by novel learning experiences, which might include using computerized brain fitness programs.
Neuroplasticity describes how neurons link to one another when learning is happening. If I am not challenging my neurons with learning, the synapses actually begin to disconnect themselves, which is not good when coupled with alzheimers plaques.
But fitness for over 50 can increase neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, which keeps me humming right along as I attempt to make sense of the jargon my children throw my way.
There are some other components to good brain fitness including nuttrition, sleep, stress management, and the novel learning experience.
Physical fitness for over 50 has been refined too, in the recent research. You can get a very effective workout at home in your utility room using HIIT or high intensity interval training, which basically means doing aerobic exercises of your choosing at your speed and intensity for 10 minutes in 30 second intervals.
Please check out The Aesthetic Muscle Plan, and book, More Love, Less Fat, by Angie and Scott Tousignant.
And if you are really interested in understanding neuroplasticity and neurogenesis more thoroughly, I encourage you to read
Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans, Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. neuroscientists at the University of Michigan who have written a book for all of us who want to age with a minumum number of Senior Moments.
Besides nutrition, and sleep, the researchers are saying that stress management is a key piece of the neurogenesis and neuroplasticity puzzle.
The best stress management tool there is is deep breathing, and if you are like most of us, you will nod your head sagely and keep on with the shallow breathing that actually encourages stress hormones that kill new neurons to be present in your blood, so perhaps you want a technological tool that will teach you stress management? Here it is. I have used HeartMath personally and professionally for nine years, and I do that because it works.
Evans and Burghardt talk about novel or challenging learning experiences as key pieces of the neurogenesis and neuroplasticity puzzle, and that kind of learning usually refers to learning a new language or learning a new instrument, and can refer to more traditional kinds of learning like sudoku or crosswords if they increase in complexity.
Another kind of learning which fits my schedule better is the computerized brain fitness programs like the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, which is wonderful for your IQ, if yours is still too low.
The Posit Science programs have been researched in the IMPACT study. Great for Seniors and Boomers, older than my 61.
Lumosity is great to keep on the computer as a brain brightener to use between clients or phone calls.
Or get our
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