Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

KEEP BRAIN, BODY STRONG

If you are already moving — swimming, jogging, dancing or anything else that has the potential for developing into an aerobic activity — keep it up! Some interesting studies give No. 1 "brain sharpener" status to aerobic exercise. Professor Donald Stuss, Ph.D., of the Ontario Brain Institute says, "The best advice I can give to keep your brain healthy and young is aerobic exercise." Continuous research is focused on the exercise and brain connection, which is no surprise given current studies that share some of the direct and indirect memory benefits of daily aerobic exercise: Exercise alters the brain in a way that offers protection to our memory and learning skills.

Our brains actually begin slowing down around age 30, and it was once believed that when we lost those brain cells, they were forever gone. The latest research tells us that is not true. We now know that exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, stimulates the growth of new brain cells and increases the connections between brain cells. It also increases heart rate, which means more oxygen is being pumped to the brain.

Exercise is as good for your brain as it is for the rest of your body.

There are other ways to combat aging as well. Among them:

Create change: Occasionally, make small changes to the things you are continually doing the same way. If you always walk around the block in the same direction, try walking the opposite way. If you have an exercise routine, mix it up.

Socialize: Isolation kills slowly. You needn't be a social butterfly, however. Just 10 minutes of social interaction stimulates brain cells, including cells in the memory areas of the brain.

Get mental stimulation: Keep learning and introducing new activities. Step out of the box and challenge yourself. Include any mentally stimulating activity that you might enjoy and that requires you to focus on what you are doing. For me, it's taking piano lessons as a true beginner.

Eat well: Include color in your menu. Colorful fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidants that help fight the free radicals that attack the neurons in our brains.

Manage stress: Long-term stress produces the stress hormone cortisol, which has been known to cause premature brain aging. Exercise and relaxation techniques help to protect your brain from the debilitating effects of stress.

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can't respond to individual inquiries. Contact her at slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

m Strength (lunge with medicine ball rotations): This exercise targets the abs and lower body and helps with balance.

Holding a medicine ball or a weight close to the chest, step forward with your right leg into a lunge position, right knee bent and left leg to the back. Without moving your lower body, rotate your torso, bringing your arms about shoulder level across the body to the right side. Return to center and rotate to the left side. Repeat 8 to 10 times on each side. Change legs, stepping forward with left leg, and repeat the movements 8 to 10 times on each side.

. Cardio (ropeless jump rope): This exercise gives you the cardio benefits without the interruptions of starting and stopping when you trip up.

You can jog through the workout, bounce or simply march in place. When you use the standard arm movements, remember to move from the elbows, not the shoulders.

n Stress relief (deep breathing meditation): The key to this type of relaxation is deep breathing from the abdomen instead of shallow chest breathing, which we tend to do daily. This exercise can tell you if you are breathing abdominally.

Lying on your back with your knees bent, or sitting in a chair with a straight back, place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. When you take a deep, slow inhale through the nose, the hand on your stomach should rise as the inhalation expands the abdomen, while the hand on your chest should move very little. As you exhale through your mouth, which should be slower than the inhale, the hand on your stomach should move in as your abdominals contract and the hand on your chest should remain virtually still. Just relax for five or 10 minutes.

KEEP BRAIN, BODY STRONG 08/22/16 [Last modified: Monday, August 22, 2016 10:15am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay to provide groceries to families hit by Hurricane Irma

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay and the nonprofit Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa will distribute food and gift cards Tuesday to an estimated 400 families who suffered power outages and lost food after Hurricane Irma.

    Tampa Bay Bucaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, center, in green shirt, serves a meal at a disaster assistance registration center in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. Winston has purchased 400 $25 gift cards from Publix and is scheduled to present some of them to families who lost groceries after Hurricane Irma from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa at 1907 E Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa. LARA CERRI   |   Times
  2. Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation

    Hurricanes

    JUNCOS, PUERTO RICO — In the heat and humidity here in the central mountains, Meryanne Aldea fanned her bedridden mother with a piece of cardboard Sunday as the ailing woman lay on her side, relieving a large ulcer in her back.

    A man walks from Juncos in search of gasoline. The mountain town is one of the most affected by Hurricane Maria's pass through Puerto Rico. [Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo | Washington Post]
  3. President Donald Trump during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., Sept. 22, 2017. Trump called for football fans to boycott NFL games unless the league fires or suspends players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Worst-Case (Keenum) scenario

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis in their latest podcast.

    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) scrambles away from Bucs defensive end William Gholston (92) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Tonight: Hear ideas for remaking downtown Tampa interchange

    Transportation

    TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.

    The Florida Department of Transportation renamed its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan is now known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. [Florida Department of Transportation]