As you age is there an easy way to keep your mind sharp?
Yes and I’ll tell you what it is:
From the time we reach our 40’s, our brains begin to shrink, which affects among other things our memories and our thinking capabilities, including the ability to learn new information.
But a recent landmark study conducted by the University of Illinois, Urbana and published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences; found that just three hours of aerobic exercise a week can reverse this process.
In fact with this small amount of exercise the brain can actually increase its gray matter (neurons) and its white matter (neuron connections) and function more effectively. This confirms a growing body of evidence about the brain’s aging, both in humans and in animals.
How can you use this knowledge? Simple. Regularly take a walk. In the Urbana study, adults ages 60 to 79 walked in a gym for an hour three times a week at a speed a bit over three miles an hour.
Using an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] before and at the end of the study, they found that “After only three months,” said Dr. Arthur Kramer of Urbana, “the people who exercised had the brain volumes of people three years younger.”
What caused this to occur? The belief is the exercise regularly increased blood flow to the brain.
This is great news for it offers you an easy way to sharpen your brain. You can walk for an hour three times a week as they did in the study, or perhaps walk more often for a little less time. The key is to get the blood to circulate vigorously to the brain.
If through injury or illness, you aren’t able to walk is there an aerobic activity you could substitute? My guess is swimming with a similar intensity for a similar time period would bring a comparable benefit. I also think that if you’re able to use them, aerobic machines such as an elliptical trainer could serve you well.
But this is my speculation based upon the premise of improved blood circulation to the brain and from 32 years of my own workouts. You will want to consult with your Doctor.
The important thing is you can sharpen your brain and at the same time, gain the added benefits of burning calories and toning your body.
And in doing so, you can relax as you walk which will relieve stress and open your mind to new ideas that often come with getting away from the pressures of work.
An excellent example of someone who does these things is Terry Robinson, a manager at The Sports Club/LA. Terry will soon be 91-years-young [on 3/9/07] but he walks each day, works-out and swims 5-days-a-week.
He also reads extensively often memorizing key passages, he paints and is a superb artist whose work is widely on display, and he teaches classes at The Sports Club/LA and mentors their young trainers. Being in such fine physical and mental condition, Terry seems to defy age.
But there’s more. Terry can tell you about the past, such as how he served in World War 2, but he lives in the now. He’s a bundle of positive energy who knows what is happening today, and he is actively involved with others. For Terry, there is no sitting around as life has too much to offer.
Success Tip of the Week:
If you are physically able, take a walk today. It could be the start of a life changing experience. And as I wrote about Terry Robinson today, someone in the future may write about you and your positive impact on the world around you.
For further detail, please read the study or go to The Wall Street Journal, 11/16/06, “How to Keep Your Aging Brain Fit: Aerobics”
In the next KazanToday:
A man whose ideas made automotive history, how he got them and how you too could have history making ideas.