Neurogenesis or growing new brain cells while exercising makes sense because your brain is receiving more oxygen and blood. At 45-minutes your mind is at its sharpest.
Society is obsessed with working out for their body, but it’s the brain that will lead you to take the right actions, make good decisions and naturally secrete endorphins and naturally alleviate anxiety, depression and inflammation.
Here are 10 ways you can keep your brain vibrant, sharp and constantly improving.
By: Alvaro Fernandez
1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff”.
3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis.
4. Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you look forward to every new day in a constructive way. Stress and anxiety, no matter whether induced by external events or by your own thoughts, actually kills neurons and prevent the creation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the opposite of exercise: it prevents the creation of new neurons.
5. Thrive on Learning and Mental Challenges. The point of having a brain is precisely to learn and to adapt to challenging new environments. Once new neurons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they survive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do crossword puzzle number 1,234,567″. It means, “challenge your brain often with fundamentally new activities”.
6. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organisms in this planet. Aim high. Once you graduate from college, keep learning. The brain keeps developing, no matter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.
7. Explore, travel. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment. Make new decisions, use your brain.
8. Don’t Outsource Your Brain. Not to media personalities, not to politicians, not to your smart neighbor. Make your own decisions, and mistakes. And learn from them. That way, you are training your brain, not your neighbor’s.
9. Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. We are “social animals”, and need social interaction. Which, by the way, is why ‘Baby Einstein’ has been shown not to be the panacea for children development.
10. Laugh. Often. Especially to cognitively complex humor, full of twists and surprises.
DRUMROLL PLEASE…# 11 COMES TO US FROM A READER NAMED, JOHN. I love the hobbies he mentions as they’re my own and they do serve to keep the mind sharp. John has a beautiful blog. I encourage you to take a look at it. The link for it is: http://realtruelove.wordpress.com/
11. Write, journal, blog (as well as draw, paint, play an instrument, learn photography). And read decent books (and poetry); give yourself some real food for thought. And when you read decent books, read slowly enough to explore–and even better, to journal–your own thoughts in relation to what you are reading. Developing and refining our own personal philosophy or “life map” is a huge part of using it and not losing it.
Now, remember that what counts is not reading this article-or any other-, but practicing a bit every day until small steps snowball into unstoppable, internalized habits…so, pick your next battle and try to start improving at least one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed your attention, click on a link below to learn more, and make a decision to try something different today!
Hot Books on Brain Health by friends of mine:
The Brain Mechanic by Spencer Lord
Super Body, Super Brain by Michael Gonzalez-Wallace
My Review of Super Body, Super Brain. I serve on the board.
SUPER BODY, SUPER BRAIN by Michael Gonzalez Wallace is my #1 pick for a fitness book. It’s based on the very latest, cutting-edge brain research. Michael’s program is unique in that it provides a whole brain workout that requires thinking and precision through specific left to right, and front to back movements.
This is the first time someone has created a program, which taps into how complex circuits in our brains connect to our muscles through voluntary and intentional movement. Huge implication for aging. For more than a century, medical science firmly believed that our brain could not repair itself and that we were born with all the brain cells we would ever have.
Over the last 20 years, research has shown neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, actually does occur in the brain with the right training. Michael brilliantly harnesses this knowledge to provide expert training on how your brain connects to your body through motor and sensory pathways.
In SUPER BODY, SUPER BRAIN he provides compelling evidence that exercise is not only good for your heart, but also good for your brain. He aptly demonstrates an exciting daily fitness program that stimulates your brain cells during your workout. He shows you how to work out smarter, instead of longer.
As someone who has specialized in medical/health for over two decades, I strongly endorse Michael’s program. When you first learn of it, you’ll think it must be a gimmick. It’s not. As mentioned, it’s based on decades of scientific research. I use the program myself and have known Michael for years.
He’s the real deal; extremely passionate about the program because he knows it works and can help others improve their energy level and entire well being from the inside out. In today’s ever-competitive world, it’s not enough to have a Super Body. You absolutely need a Super Brain. Michael shows you how to build both at the same time.
The benefits of his unique program are long overdue within the entire health community. Super Body Super Brain by Michael Gonzalez Wallace is definitely the future of fitness. Everyone at any fitness level from beginner to pro will take something away from this book that improves his or her health.
-Maria Dorfner, Founding CEO, NewsMD Communications
I also highly recommend all Books by John Assaraf
Take a Listen to John’s Latest Podcast Here on The Power of Expanding Your Awareness:
Your Brain After Chemo by Idelle Davidson
You can also check out one of my own books HEALTHY WITHIN at the following link. Make sure you check for Discount Codes before checkout.
MARIA DORFNER is the founder of NewsMD Communications and
Healthy Within Network (HWN)
This is her blog
“When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”