Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Take Care of Your Brain

October 24, 2011 - Jellyfish by klsterndahl
I don't think jelly fish have much of a brain but we humans need to keep ours healthy.

                      The more you read, the more things you will know.
                      The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
                                                                    - Dr. Seuss

I've always liked Dr. Seus. I read many of his books to my kids when they were little. He published on of my favorites, You're Only Old Once, on his 82nd birthday. One of my greatest fears has always been that my body would stay healthy well into advanced age but my brain might not keep up. Because of this I work to keep it going strong. Hopefully, I'll still be writing when I turn 82, maybe even 102!

I try to eat a healthy low-fat diet, including eggs for choline and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can support brain health. Too much fat in the diet can lead to blocked arteries, which can mean that the brain doesn't receive enough oxygen. And excess body fat can lead to reduced brain tissue and an increased chance of Alzheimer's.

I try to start each day with yoga and take a long walk after breakfast. Sufficient sleep, meditation, and yoga can all give your brain a chance to process all the information that it takes in during the day and strengthens the connections between neurons, resulting in better memory. Aerobic exercise, plus strength training can increase oxygen to your brain to help preserve that precious brain tissue and help maintain your memory.

I just can't imagine not reading. When I see statistics about how few books the average American reads once they are out of school, I am always shocked. Reading helps your brain, but especially if what you are reading gives it a challenge - if it has to work to figure something out. Even reading the newspaper or a magazine can add more information to those data files in your brain.

The idea is to make your brain work. Learn new things. It's never too late to learn how to play a musical instrument. What about a dance class? Learn new steps to challenge your memory and coordination. Or learn to juggle. Gather up a friend or two and play a game that will make your brain work - Scrabble, chess, bridge.

Wake up your creativity with drawing or painting classes. Write your memoirs or the next bestselling novel. Learn a foreign language. Take a college class. Hang out with your brainiest friends. Have interesting conversations that will get you thinking about things that are new to you. Follow Dr. Seuss' advice:

                                  Think and wonder. Wonder and think.

2 comments:

  1. I work with a lot of young people I feel they keep me on my toes.I laugh a lot ,Thom is very funny. Thom and I both read a lot. Love a good book. cmac

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  2. You know, Cindy, I hated school back in the old days, but I have always loved learning. I often get involved in something to the point of obsession, but then something else will come along that attracts my attention. The internet is a wonderful thing for someone like me - I can learn anything there without spending so much money on books all the time. I don't understand people who spend so much of their internet time playing games, but it's their life!

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