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. 5 things to know before Tampa Bay Comic Con this weekend

    Events

    Tampa Bay Comic Con returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, expected to attract more than 55,000 like-minded nerds mingling with cosplayers, celebrities, artists and sellers of comic books and collectibles.

    Surrounded by the bridesmaids dressed as Disney princesses and groomsmen dressed as Marvel superheroes, Gwen Walter of Venice, Fla., kisses her husband, Shawn Walter, also of Venice, after their wedding ceremony on day two of the 2016 Tampa Bay Comic Con in the Tampa Convention Center on August 6, 2016. The pair got engaged at Megacon 2015 and were married wearing "Nightmare Before Christmas"-themed costumes. Two different couples were married in Room 24 on the second day of the Tampa Bay Comic Con 2016. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
  2. White House tensions catch fire with Scaramucci interviews (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's new communications director exploded the smoldering tensions at the White House into a full-fledged conflagration Thursday, angrily daring Trump's chief of …

    White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci gestures as he answers a question during a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington on July 21, 2017. Scaramucci offered newsroom leaders a test on Thursday. They needed to decide whether to fully use the obscenities relied on by Scaramucci to describe fellow White House aides or talk around them. [Associated Press]
  3. Forecast: Drier pattern ending in Tampa Bay as front brings building rain chances throughout weekend

    Weather

    The drier, hot weather pattern across Tampa Bay will remain in place Friday before rain chances start to ramp up yet again through the weekend and into next week.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Police investigating death of child in Largo

    Accidents

    LARGO — An investigation is underway into the death of a child Thursday night at a mobile home park and a 25-year-old man has been named as a suspect, the Largo Police Department said.

  5. Goodbye, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle: Apple kills products as music moves to phones

    Science

    SAN FRANCISCO — The iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle have played their final notes for Apple.

    An iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle are displayed at an Apple store in New York in 2015. The company discontinued sales of the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle on Thursday, July 27, 2017, in a move reflecting the waning popularity of the devices in an era when most people store or stream their tunes on smartphones. [Associated Press]