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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Improve your brain health

We can improve our brain health. First let's have a look at some theories about use of brain to see that we can do better by proper use of our brain skills.

** We have shown that working memory can be improved by training” – Dr. Torkel Klingberg, Professor at Karolinska Institute, and Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, part of the Stockholm Brain Institute

** “Learning is physical. Learning means the modification, growth, and pruning of our neurons, connections–called synapses– and neuronal networks, through experience...we are cultivating our own neuronal networks.”- Dr. James Zull, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at Case Western University.

** “Exercising our brains systematically ways is as important as exercising our bodies. In my experience, “Use it or lose it” should really be “Use it and get more of it”.- Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, neuropsychologist, clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine, and disciple of the great neuropsychologist Alexander Luria.

** “Individuals who lead mentally stimulating lives, through education, occupation and leisure activities, have reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Studies suggest that they have 35-40% less risk of manifesting the disease”- Dr. Yaakov Stern, Division Leader of the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Sergievsky Center at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York.

** What research has shown is that cognition, or what we call thinking and performance, is really a set of skills that we can train systematically." - Dr. Daniel Gopher, Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Human Factors Engineering at Technion Institute of Science.

** There are four important pillars which can help in improving our brain health and as a result get most of our mind skills.

1- Physical Exercise
2- Mental Exercise
3- Good Nutrition
4- Stress Management

Physical Exercise
* Start by talking to your doctor, especially if you are not currently physically active, have special health concerns, or are making significant changes to your current program.
* Set a goal that you can achieve. Do something you enjoy for even just 15 minutes a day. You can always add more time and activities later.
Schedule exercise into your daily routine. It will be become a habit faster if you do.
* Do something cardiovascular, meaning something that gets your heart beating faster. This includes walking, running, skiing, swimming, biking, hiking, tennis, basketball, playing tag, ultimate Frisbee, and other similar sports/activities.

Mental Exercise

* Do a variety of things, including things you aren't good at (if you like to sing, try painting too)
* Work puzzles like crosswords and sudoku or play games like chess and bridge
* Try a computerized brain fitness program for a customized workout
* Learn something new every day.

Good Nutrition
* Eat a variety of foods of different colors without a lot of added ingredients or processes.
* Plan your meals around your vegetables, and then add fruit, protein, dairy, and/or grains
* Add some cold-water fish to your diet (tuna, salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring) which contain omega-3 fatty acids.
* Learn what a portion-size is, so you don't overeat
* Try to eat more foods low on the Glycemic Index
* Eat more vegetables, particularly leafy green ones.

Stress Management
* Get regular cardiovascular exercise
* Try to get enough sleep each night
* Keep connected with your friends and family
* Practice meditation, yoga, or some other calming activity as way to take a relaxing time-out (maybe a bath)
* Try training with a heart rate variability sensor, like the one in emWave (formerly known as Freeze-Framer)
* Set aside 5-10 minutes to just breathe deeply and recharge

Source Link: Easy steps to improve your brain health

1 comment:

  1. I like to do crosswords for my mental exercise. I do feel like it's a bit of a workout!


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