Guest Author - Debbie Mandel
If you want your mind to go the distance, you have to take care of your body. Fitness gurus have always claimed that when you discipline the body, you enhance your mental clarity. Improving and maintaining health factors not traditionally associated with dementia, such as denture fit, vision and hearing, may lower a person’s risk for developing dementia, according to a new study published in the July 2011 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Taking care of your senses makes sense. If your vision is not properly adjusted, your brain cannot accurately process information; clearly, vision loss will mean brain function loss. If there is hearing loss, your brain is denied sound input. Having healthy gums is associated with a healthy cardiovascular system. And if you are heart smart, you will be head smart as your blood delivers glucose and oxygen to the brain.
How quickly you walk has been associated with longevity – the faster, the better. Exercise builds new neurons in the brain and enhances synaptic connections. Changing up your exercise routine, challenging yourself, leads not only to stronger muscles, bones and heart, but also, to a sharper mind.
Living in balance by managing stressors which come your way lowers the inflammatory response of cortisol. People who live with chronic stress find that they are more forgetful. The reason is that stress hormones lodge longest in the brain.
The take home message is that Greeks said it best: A sound mind in a sound body. Living a healthy lifestyle begins with diet. Eating lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables along with complex carbohydrates and a healthy fat like olive oil will not only improve your mood to cope with stress, but will also fortify your immune system, fuel you with good energy and keep your cardiovascular from clogging as well as prevent/manage type 2 diabetes. Your whole day gets organized around good health.
Many of us find it difficult to commit to exercise. However, exercise should become a non-negotiable. Just do it should become your daily mantra. Even this won’t be enough, if you plan to be sedentary the rest of the day. You have to look for opportunities to MOVE. Put your mind into your muscle and make your movements purposeful like: Lifting groceries, squatting to pick up a laundry basket, stepping up the stairs or pushing the vacuum around the house.