Updated: Aug 19
I turned 47 last week. As a birthday present to myself, I decided to take some time to reflect on life, aging, and what that really means for me. Aging is, let's face it, a scary proposition. The thought of being halfway through life is daunting, especially when you feel like there's still so much to do, see, and learn!
I've spent a great deal of time pondering over the disparities in how people age. You see, my parents, despite being only two years apart, are at completely different stages in their lives. My mother is fiercely independent, while my father is quite dependent. Aside from genetics, it’s an intimate look into how choices around health and fitness can dramatically affect one’s quality of life, especially as we get older.
The truth is, I’ve been captivated by the concept of anti-aging since my twenties. And in the world of health and fitness, I've always looked up to the people who have seemed to age really well! Today, in the light of my parents’ contrasting aging experiences, and as dementia affects close family members, this interest has turned personal.
I want to age better and I want to help others do the same.
A few years ago, I took a Brain Health Trainer (BHT) course as an extension of the Senior Fitness Specialist program offered by Ace Fitness. This specialized BHT course provides an in-depth understanding of how exercise and lifestyle changes can impact neurophysiology and cognitive health. It equips fitness professionals with research-backed methods to address cognitive decline, and manage conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's within their professional capacity.
Physical exercise doesn't just keep your body in shape - it supercharges your brain health too!
Here's a quick overview:
Regular exercise improves cognitive health, mood, and even reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety. It's like a mental workout, honing your memory, attention, and processing speed!
Exercise also stimulates growth factors like BDNF, IG-1, and VEGF, promoting brain cell growth. This process, neurogenesis, results in new neurons and neural networks, enhancing brain activity and structure.
Different exercises target various brain regions, promoting cellular changes and increased blood flow, which improve cognitive and motor skills.
In my 7-Day Holistic Hottie® Fitness & Mindset RESET mini-course, I highlight one of the most amazing characteristics of our brains: their ability to change and adapt, a process referred to as neuroplasticity. To fully utilize this capability, it's essential to maintain regular and specific mental exercises. Just as sculpting requires focused and targeted efforts, so does training your brain.
In creating an ideal exercise regimen, aim for a mix of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and cognitive physical training. This not only keeps the workouts interesting but also ensures all aspects of your brain health are catered to.
Here are some of the specific examples of Cognitive Physical Training. These are ways to introduce some form of novelty and challenge into your routine:
Dual-Tasking: Combining a cognitive task with a physical one can enhance cognitive function. For example, walking or jogging while learning a new language on Duolingo or naming countries that start with a particular letter.
Complex Motor Skills Training: Sports that require strategic thinking and coordination, like tennis or basketball, can offer cognitive benefits.
Reaction Training: This involves responding quickly to signals or prompts, such as in a game of table tennis or interactive video games that require physical movement.
Yoga and Tai Chi: These practices integrate physical movements with mental focus, and can improve concentration, memory, and stress management.
Balance and Coordination Exercises: Activities such as dancing, or exercises on unstable surfaces like a balance board, require both physical skill and cognitive engagement.
To enhance the brain-body connection, consider incorporating sensory stimulation products like Naboso. These products can stimulate the brain, help you connect with your environment, and create a sense of relaxation and safety. Moreover, they have the potential to increase concentration levels and improve cognitive function.
In conclusion, the brain-enhancing benefits of physical activity are attainable for everyone. By incorporating a variety of workouts and leveraging the power of neuroplasticity, we can tap into our brain's extraordinary capabilities and adapt effectively to an ever-changing world.
Let's age better, together. 👊 *fist bump*