In the gym, we focus so much on physical health. We want to figure out how to get stronger, how to look a certain way, how to have more energy, etc. Yet, we often neglect one of the most important pieces of physical health or health in general: brain health. Alzheimer’s or other conditions that impact the brain don’t have a “look” and it may exist in our bodies for years before we begin to show symptoms.
Your brain is the most complex organ in the body. They say “happy wife, happy life” but it might be better to start using “happy brain, happy life”.
What is Brain Health:
Your brain is responsible for helping you make sense of the world and oversee the daily operations of your life. Brain health refers to the ability to remember, learn, concentrate, and plan. Brain health is all about acting on its functions, strengths, and preventing harm. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are 6 pillars of brain health.
Pillar #1 – Physical Exercise:
Exercise helps improve blood flow and memory. It aids chemical reactions and changes in the brain that stimulate/enhance learning, mood, thinking, and brain function as a whole. Dr. Wendy Suzuki, professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University has stated that Aerobic exercise has been said to be the most powerful way to protect your brain from the detrimental effects of Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The hippocampus is responsible for long-term memory and where Alzheimer’s begins. Exercise helps to build up the hippocampus.
Pillar #2 – Nutrition:
You are what you eat. You want to make sure that your diet supports a healthy lifestyle and lots of antioxidants. ALL THE ANTIOXIDANTS.
Pillar #3 – Medical health:
Your physical health and specific conditions such as hypertension, traumatic brain injury, high cholesterol, and diabetes increase the risk of deteriorating brain health. Don’t skip your annual check-up and make sure to listen to your body. You can usually tell when something is off. Don’t ignore it.
Pillar #4 – Sleep:
Yeah, we live in a hyper-competitive society that prioritizes busy vs. sleep. Sometimes we think there’s a medal to be won for who got the least amount of sleep that night. But sleep helps to improve mood, immune system, and prevent abnormal protein build-up in the brain.
Pillar #5 – Mental Health:
We should be talking about mental health the same amount that we talk about physical health. It’s important to practice mental exercise, just like you would physical exercise. Mental exercise can be beneficial for overall brain functioning and promote new cell growth. Like anytihng else, use it or lose it. Technology has been a tremendous friend to mental exercise! It’s easier now than ever to train your brain on-the-go!
Pillar #6 – Social Interaction:
Sometimes it’s easier to stay in your bubble or stay with the mentality that we don’t need anyone else. But in reality, we do. Stimulating conversations, support, feeling connected are all related to preventing dementia and the downward spiral of the brain.
Who is down to be a brainiac?
November 13, 2019