OT - Tone-Up Tuesday
Happy Tuesday, STalkers! Are you getting physical? While you’re working out your body, don’t forget to work out your mind!
We don’t just lose muscle over time — our brains can atrophy, too.
Our brains are composed of different areas and functions, and we can strengthen them through mental exercise – or they atrophied for lack of practice. The benefits are both short-term (improved concentration and memory, sustained mental clarity under stressful situations…), and long-term (creation of a “brain reserve” that help protect us against potential problems such as Alzheimer’s).
In addition to good nutrition, regular exercise can promote vascular health to help protect brain tissue. Avoiding ruts and boredom is also critical. The brain wants to learn new things! When the brain is passive, it has a tendency to atrophy. Sedentary and relatively passive activities, such as sitting in front of a TV for hours a day, can be detrimental to brain health over time. Exercises to strengthen the brain function should offer novelty and challenge. Drive home via a different route; brush your teeth with your opposite hand!
TEST YOUR RECALL. Make a list — of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind — and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation.
LET THE MUSIC PLAY. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind.
DO MATH IN YOUR HEAD. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; you can make this more difficult — and athletic — by walking at the same time.
TAKE A COOKING CLASS. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different parts of the brain.
LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline. I don't think Pig Latin counts...
CREATE WORD PICTURES. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
DRAW A MAP FROM MEMORY. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.
CHALLENGE YOUR TASTE BUDS. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
REFINE YOUR HANE-EYE ABILITIES. Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.
LEARN A NEW SPORT. Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as tennis, golf, or yoga.
5 Physical Exercises That Are Good For Your Brain
- Aerobic Exercises. For the most part, the exercises that are good for your heart are good for your brain as well.
- Yoga and Meditation. Yoga is a great way to stretch and improve flexibility.
- Walking. While it's one of the simplest exercises you can do, walking greatly improves brain power.
- Jogging or Running.
- Group Classes.
Don't forget to eat your way to better brain power! Brain foods:
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish with omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna)
- Whole grains
- Pomegranate juice
- Freshly brewed tea
- Dark chocolate (woo hoo!!!)