How many times have we aimlessly walked around the parking garage? It’s never for leisure, is it? Once in a while we do forget where we park our cars, but if we cross-train our brains, we’ll see improvement in overall health, memory and ability to learn more.
Fitness for the brain includes combining eating well, getting exercise and giving a little tender love to ourselves. I’ll list them in my favorite order:
1. Gets some ZZZs
As we get tired, our memory starts to slip. We could all use a little more sleep, not only to be more productive each day, but to remember what we have to do each day. And, yes, sleep is good for achieving greater mental acuity.
2. Chill Out
Chilling out and getting sleep are two different things, although you can achieve one from the other. What we’re talking about is calming down. Meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, playing music, taking a bath, running – everyone has their own ways to do this. Stress hormones have been known to shrink memory, so doing something to calm us will improve mental and physical health.
3.Feed Our Brain
Andrew Weil, M.D., co-author of The Healthy Brain Kit and author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being, recommends eating foods high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These include salmon, sardines, fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, and green tea, among others. Things to avoid are saturated fats, refined carbs and sugars.
4. Move It
Exercise gets our blood pumping and enriches our brain and the rest of our body with the oxygen that it needs. Whatever activity we choose, we should get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
5. Learn Something
Yet one of the best brain workouts is keeping an open mind and being willing to take in more information. Go beyond sudoku and crossword puzzles and engage in any learning process, like taking up a new language, tackling your child’s calculus problem, learning a new computer program, or taking a dance class. The brain responds positively to change, shifting needs and stimuli.
6. Take a Look Around You
Going back to the parking lot scenario. Once we are parked, look around and take an imprint of the vital information we need so we can return to it. But, before we can do this we need to teach our brain to flush out any distractions and focus. This will also help us when we meet “what’s his name” for the first time.
Did you like this post? What useful tips have you used to remember things, like people’s names?