As we move along repeating our mantra about our biostat (every day, in every way I will improve my physical and mental health) it’s a comfort to know we can do both by exercising. A daily dose of exercise causes a jolt of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) making you not only think better, but also remember more. 4 very different, recent studies –on college students, on U.S. airline pilots, on elderly rats in Brazil and younger ones in California–all confirm that physical exercise directly impacts our BDNF and hence positively impacts our brains. Workout regularly and your BDNF stays elevated. If you (assuming I do) have a genetic tendency to lose BDNF with age, exercise may even be more important to increase memory and improve task skills. When your fueling up remember that kale (and all your dark leafy greens), blueberries and mustard can all help keep that brain functioning sharply. The turmeric in mustard –just a teaspoon a day– can help activate genes that control the cleanup of cellular waste in the brain. Salmon is a great source of omega-3-fatty acids which is believed to have the most anti-aging effects on the brain. If, like me, you don’t eat fish, the good news is that the omega-3 actually comes from the algae that the fish eats, and that is easy to find in a supplement…one of the few I do take because I am aiming to keep my brain strong for many years to come. My biostat (the age I want to FEEL –not necessarily be, just FEEL– is 35. What’s yours?
If you think some people are just lucky to have good willpower, think again. Willpower is something we need to develop, just like cardiovascular endurance, or big guns. Willpower isn’t good to have just to avoid temptation and avoid binges but also to make wise choices and stay motivated. Nurture your willpower by exercising it! Try meditation– just 10 minutes of meditation activates the prefrontal cortex, which helps us make smart choices and the anterior cingulate cortex, which helps us choose the time to make those choices. The more you activate these parts of the brain, the stronger they become. Also, simple things like remembering to stand up straight, which requires mindfulness, will not only engage the brain, but also build self-confidence which further fuels willpower. Setting goals that require regular mental effort will help sharpen that all important power—willpower, that is.
Apparently exercise really is one thing we can do every day to improve our physical AND mental capacity. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh performed brain scans on more than 600 people in their early 70s and found that those who exercised didn’t suffer nearly as much age-related brain shrinkage and other mental decay as those who did little to no physical activity. According to this same study completing a puzzle, learning a new language and meeting new friends did nothing to prevent shrinkage (though I have to imaging those things are still really good for us). Researchers also found that exercisers had more gray matter—the area of the brain primarily responsible for muscle control, memory and emotions. Seems exercise might be the very thing we need to do every day in order to improve our physical AND mental capacity! Needless to say, I am a big buy in BUT I think of how much my mom exercised and wonder why she developed Alzheimer’s so, though I love the results of this study, I am personally cautiously optimistic. It remains to be seen, but I’ll keep at it forever!
So what exactly IS a biostat and how do you adjust yours? According to Deepak Chopra, we can help stall or reverse the aging process, memory decline and even most cases of Alzheimer’s disease by doing a few simple things. One is a very, very simple daily meditation. Sitting tall, close your eyes and set your biostat. That is a number that reflects the age you would like to FEEL (not to go back and do it all over again, just an age you would like to feel). He says you picture setting it just like you would a thermostat. Then, say (to yourself or aloud) the following: Every day, in every way, I will increase my mental and physical capacity. Then say to yourself: I am (__) saying the number (your biostat) that you picked. Repeat 5 times daily.
Since meditation is so good for us, and this one is so simple, I have been doing it daily (though probably not 5 times). If nothing else it does make me think about ways that I can be increasing my physical and mental capacity each and every day! Chopra also suggests that we need to keep learning new things and keep trying things a little differently (aka if your a righty, use your left hand to brush your teeth or hair).
We exfoliate our skin, sloughing off the dead stuff, and letting new skin come to the surface. Brain cells die off, too, but we need to do the kinds of things that make new brain cells replace them. As Tom Petty once said “I don’t know but I’ve been told, you never slow down, you never grow old.” I get it now, Tom.
How ironic I should wake up to the following health blurb, as this has sort of been a topic of conversation this week, but this puts a finger on the pulse of some of the reasons friends (not just girls and not just for the girls!) are so important in our lives…not just having friends, but being a good friend, too…
According to Drs. Oz and Roizen of Real Age.com, to double your chances of staying active and independent way into your golden years, the prescription is….to spend more time hanging out with friends! I knew it, I knew it….
Studies show that socializing and laughing it up with good friends can cut your odds for memory loss in half, as well as make you twice as likely to avoid disabilities that could make your later years challenging. Getting together with friend will help you continue to manage your eating and medications (if needed at all) by 150!!!!!!! Researchers cannot pinpoint why hanging out with friends is such a fountain of youth, but studies prove that staying mentally, physically and socially active keep your brain and your body pumped up.
The good doctors suggest you start your friendship action plan today. Turn your workout into a partner affair or simply ask a friend to walk with you…set dates to get together regularly to just laugh and chat…go to games, have a meal, plan a trip, or for a a real bang, volunteer together. Then refill this prescription often and regularly.
They don’t have to tell me twice! So grateful for the good friends in my life. Love seeing them and spending time together. This is a prescription I won’t let expire. Ever. Girls, guys, get on the phone and make some plans with your buds. Doctors orders!
Yesterday I introduced you to 93 year old Charlotte, and talked about exercise for the over 65 crowd. But we all (should) know that exercise knows no age barriers, in terms of the benefits it provides. Earlier this month, I read an article about a study being done in “my town” at the charter middle school. It involves actually teaching math lessons while the kids simultaneously do 45 minutes of cardio. This 10-week study, sponsored by Florida State University will wee if learning while exercising results in better comprehension, better behavior and improved overall fitness.
Based on his own experience while in college, the charter school’s athletic director, Mike Higgins, decided to try this on some of his students and noticed that 2 minutes into the cardio he could see their steady breathing bringing them into focus. If the study proves that exercise improves academic behavior and overall health, Higgins hopes to open up kinetic learning labs across the country to tutor students outside of the classroom.
My guess is the study is going to be successful. So tell me why we have cut back and in many cases eliminated physical education from public schools? I know the easy answer is money and time, but walking, jogging, dancing, (and so many more) cost nothing…and if you are combining an activity with a lesson, there is no extra time to factor in. That said, I still believe phys ed (or call it what you want) should be a part of every student’s, every day. Personally, I am convinced the lack of it is the entire problem with our public school students not doing as well as they should and could be.
Movement, it does a body AND a brain good. Make sure to get some, today and every day!
This morning I was trying my best to put a picture of my friend and gardening mentor’s weekend harvest. Carrots, squash, assorted potatoes and so much more filled his arms and buckets, but I forgot how to get the picture from my Ipad to this site…OUCH! In any event, I am once again inspired to get busy in the garden. I am also inspired to get with my webmaster and learn more about managing my site!!!
The good news is, being forced to learn new things really helps build new neurons/brain cells. You know what else builds new brain cells? 30 minutes of daily exercise. Just one more reason to get that body moving TODAY and every day. Thanks to Dorothy, for that great article on just this topic—aging and keeping fit in both body and mind.
“A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a Happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little better for anything else.”
— John Locke
GOOD MORNING. THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND CONCERNS. YOU WILL FIND SOME OF YOR RECENT COMMENTS ARE NOT VISIBLE, BUT TRUST THAT I SAW THEM.
BACK TO PEACEANDFITNESS BECAUSE MY MISSION REMAINS THE SAME…PEACE AND FITNESS…
IN STEESSFUL TIMES, I FIND RUNNING TO BE A GREAT STRESS REDUCER. MOVING THRU SPACE, THINKING, BREATHING…AND GETTING IN SOME GREAT CARDIO AT THE SAME TIME. WHILE RUNNING ISNT FOR EVERYONE, A GOOD, LONG BRISK WALK WILL DO THE SAME. HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA, DOING THIS OUTDOORS, THIS TIME OF YEAR, REALLY MAKES FOR A PERFECT PEACEANDFITNESS OUTING.
I FINALLY TRIED AMY’S BRAND ORGANIC RICE AND BEANS BURRITOS. NOT BAD AND FOUND IN MOST GROCERY STORES, THEY MAKE A QUICK, EVEN MICROWAVABLE MEAL WHEN YOU NEED SOMETHING EASY AND FAST…AND VEGAN. 300 CALORIES…10 GRAMS OF PROTEIN AND 6 GRAMS OF FIBER. TOO MUCH SODIUM BUT THAT IS OFTEN THE CASE WITH FROZEN FOOD.
APPARENTLY THE DOLPHINS, WITH TYLER THIGPEN AS QB DID NOT WORK FOR US LAST NIGHT. WHAT A DISASTER!
STILL HAVENT HAD A CHANCE TO WATCH BIGGEST LOSER…I AM OFF TO GOOGLE A RECAP. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE EPISODE, IF YOU WATCHED. FEEDBACK, PLEASE….
TO MY STUDENTS, I PLAN ON SEEING EVERYONE AS SCHEDULED. LOVE YOU ALL
For Judy and anyone headed to the Delray, Florida area: The Boys (and the Girls, too) are located on Military Trail in Delray. The Boys are at …
14378 South Military Trail
Delray Beach, FL 33484-2626
They are a very large market-like a Penn Dutch, but probably better quality. It gets very crowded. People flock from everywhere. Park far away from the front door if you go because the parking lot is a madhouse!
The Girls, just a few blocks south, also on Military, is their “sister store” that has a u-pick farm behind it. I loved that place. Lots of animals to see and just a really cute place! If you make the trip up, they are both worth visiting.
Lisa…thanks, for sharing that list of cholesterol lowering foods. For anyone (isn’t most everyone?) interested in lowering your own cholesterol with foods-I just tried to get back to the list, to copy and paste here, but it’s not opening today! Suffice to say, lots of high fiber foods (vegetables, fruits and grains) are the way to pull cholesterol out of those arteries. Think what WOULDN’T Dr. Atkins eat if he were still alive, and eat those foods! Thankfully, the new Atkins diet has been revised to include the fiber-filled foods.
High cholesterol puts one at risk for a stroke. Thanks to Debbie, for sending the info on the 4 things to look for if you think someone is having a stroke. Worth repeating, here they are:
S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today.)
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
New Sign of a Stroke ——– Stick out Your Tongue
Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue.. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.
Thanks everyone for your questions and suggestions and simply for checking in. Rita and Carol, hope each day finds you on a constant upswing! Sylna, I, too am immediately attracted to anything DOG, and yes, this particular video had several important lessons about people, dogs and ANY living creatures. Thanks, Sylna, for this link on keeping the brain sharp.
I am elated that we can all share valuable information on this site and I am greatly appreciative for your thinking to forward things to me. Each and every day, I look forward to the comments, emails, questions, links and suggestions from ALL of you. Thanks, also, for passing along this site to others. As my good friend Lesley always says, and Mishell said last night at the dinner table, “sharing is caring.” A simple message for children, but equally as important for adults. Sharing IS caring. Thank you so much for caring.