Sounds elementary, doesn’t it?
The Importance of maintaining your brain
We need our brains. And yet, how many of us spend as much time exercising them or tending to their fitness as we do trying to stay physically fit?
I suppose I lean toward sensitivity in this area because I witnessed first-hand what it was like to live with a grandmother who suffered from Dementia. I was about eight years old when she came to live with us and it was strange to me how she could be cognizant in one moment and off in another world in the next, not recognizing who she’d been speaking with just seconds earlier.
As I grew up and lived a full life and as my kids and my schedules were packed beyond any human ability to manage them, I was gifted all-too often with a glimpse into how my brain can fail miserably. People always laughed or shrugged these instances off as my being “blonde,” or when pregnant, having “mommy brain” – but I remained aware of my brain and its capabilities, as well as just how “on” it was (or not) at all times. It was a strange concern for someone in her twenties and thirties. But again, I always saw this as a gift (and I still do). I feel as though I’m one step ahead of those who don’t give their brain another thought. While my friends shrug it off as ordinary, or try to console me for missing an important appointment, phone call or any other mistake, I am keenly aware that something occurs (or doesn’t) in my brain when these mishaps occur. Still my friends snicker. They say they only know me to be extremely organized and “on it” and that by putting so much emphasis here, I’m merely proving my perfectionism to them. They can’t seem to understand my sensitivity to this issue.
I’m open to the fact the concern may be unwarranted in my case. But I also realize it doesn’t hurt me to do what I can to remain as healthy as possible, regardless of what is going on.
So I’ve researched it. I now have a list printed by my desk of tricks to staying sharp, focused and engaged (believe it or not, engagement in social media is not on the list).
One of the leading ways to stave off foggy brain, even Dementia (and ladies, this can happen to you at any age, especially in the instance of early menopause and hormone replacement therapy – a known cause of dementia) is to step away from the computer and exercise regularly. This does not mean taking an afternoon stroll or lifting weights. The exercise must exert you (think, cardio) and there is an added bonus for anything that requires eye-hand coordination and balance, whether it provides a cardio exertion or not (golf, tennis, racquetball, yoga, knitting, crochet). While exercise helps greatly, there are many other ways to exercise your brain, and to feed it the nutrients it requires. I’ve covered much of this in my upcoming book currently titled “Getting Over Your Ovaries: How to Make the ‘Change of Life’ Your Bitch,” but this is something anyone can discover by simply doing a little research. I found my list at the Mayo Clinic website, and you can do an internet or library search to create a list for yourself that feeds your brain. Trust me. Your brain will be in love with you and show you the “love” right back (by staying “on” it and alert) as a result. At least that’s what they say.
If for some reason we find out years from now that they were wrong all along, well what harm will we have done? You’ve exercised more? Eaten some anti-oxidants, perhaps? It will only make you stronger. Go and live BIG.