Although we are all individuals the one thing we all have in common is that we are all going to age and as we do so our brains become less effective than when we were young. The key is to be aware of this inevitability and then act to put in place tools and approaches that supports your brain health and improve brain performance as you age.
While it is commonly known that any kind of regular physical exercise is great for the body, for heart conditioning and for developing muscle tone and stamina while dramatically reducing the risk of strokes, diabetes or heart attacks it is less well-known is that regular physical exercise is also essential in maintaining optimum brain performance.
Most forms of physical exercise help maintain and encourage the growth of new blood cells as well helping maintain good blood flow to your brain. This essential process of oxygenation becomes less efficient as we age .Typically lifestyle choices, such as our over-reliance on cars for short journeys or the fact that we sit in front of computers for hours at a time every day mean that invariably our bodies and brains are shot most of the time .What happens is that we get used to feeling the way we feel and think it is normal .Thus the reason to change becomes less important and we end up doing nothing at all.
Anecdotal evidence demonstrates that even the least strenuous of physical activities, if done regularly can be of significant benefit in helping clear brain fog and improving focus, concentration and attention span. The key to gaining maximum benefit from even the most moderate of physical exercise is regularity. It is better to exercise often for short periods of time then to exercise in frequently for longer periods.
Any form of aerobic exercise increases oxygen flow stimulates neurotransmitter activity releases serotonin and energises the brain. In fact so effective is a relic activity in delivering oxygen and other benefits to the brain that it is very commonly prescribed to elderly patients who may be suffering from dementia or other forms of memory loss. There is a growing body of research evidence gathered over the last four decades that shows clearly the benefits of aerobic exercise on memory for the long-term.
Brain Health Tip 1 – Get Physical & Get Regular
As I said earlier getting maximum brain benefit from physical exercise does not need to be difficult, for example taking a short walk every day for a routine journey where perhaps you would typically use a car. The key here is the word every day it’s surprisingly easy to form habits and many others go to our entire lives falling a series of what appears to be never-ending bad habits however it’s just as easy to create new neural pathways new habits of behaviour that are good for you and their efforts and deceptively effective. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this approach by realising there is benefit to be gained from simple but regular activity you have already taken the first step to better brain. All you really need to do is spend 30 min of your day every day walking cycling gardening doing some yoga to start to see and feel benefits almost immediately.
Brain Health Tip 2 – Be Physical & Be Mental
For and added boost to the efficiency of your new-found regular effortless exercise program you could also try combining physical activity with mental mastery. Try to adopt a more mindful approach to your day particularly when exercising or doing any sort of physical activity. Try to observe how you are feeling do ascents check if you like get a sense of how your body is reacting to the activity you are doing trying get a sense of how your brain is reacting to the activity you would mindfulness takes practice as styles getting into the routine of creating opportunities for more physical activity.
Brain Health Tip 3 – Incorporate The 3 Pillars Of Brain Health Everyday
As stated elsewhere on my blog physical exercise or activity is only one of the three pillars to perfect brain have. The other two:
Brain health supporting diet
are just as important as being physical and when combined together the three pillars of brain can be a very effective and powerful tool to protecting your brain as you get older.
The message is a simple one: Act now but act often to protect your brain and improve your brain performance. Try to develop a more mindful approach to your everyday, one that involves not only physical activity but regular social interaction and a healthy brain supporting diet.
Most of all be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself. The path to perfect brain health is far easier than you think.
Best of Luck
Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviors and the science of happiness.You can find him at Google+