By Jackie Halbin
Lakeview Village Living Well manager
It seems brain fitness is the buzz these days. There’s a lot of information out there. Some studies tell us that exercise boosts brain power. Others say brain games do. At Lakeview Village, we do both–at the same time.
Our brain fitness cocktail incorporates these four study-based tips:
- Keep busy: A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people who keep busy are at lower risk of dementia. The study followed a group of older adults for 21 years and found that the busiest participants were 63 percent less likely to develop the disease.
- Strength train: Another National Institutes of Health study found that twice-a-week resistance or strength training in 70- to 80-year-old women with mild cognitive impairment led to significant improvement in attention and memory ability.
- Exercise: The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in 2009 that found older adults (mean age 77 years) who were in the top third in terms of getting physical exercise were 61 percent less likely to develop dementia.
- Sweat it out: The American Physiological Society published a study that showed aerobic exercise, in particular, helped improve executive functioning (e.g. attention and concentration) more than straight memory function.
Why does the combination of keeping busy, exercising regularly and strength training work for your brain? There are many reasons, but here are a few:
- Fewer stress hormones, which negatively impact brain health
- Better blood flow
- More neurogenesis (new neurons being created) – builds up brain reserves
- Better connections among brain cells
- Better or more restful sleep
- Combats depression
Using all of these great studies, Lakeview Village combined physical activity with cognitive activities and have seen the results. We play word games, number games, trivia, and even speak other languages while we exercise. Through these activities, we train participants’ reaction time, multi-tasking ability, memory recall, hand-eye coordination and agility. The result? We have a lot of fun! These classes are very popular and everyone enjoys them. We also mix it up a lot–variety is one of the keys to improving brain fitness; you need to change activities often. Here is a simple fact for you to remember: your brain is like a muscle–you have to work it to keep it strong!
For more information about Lakeview Village’s fitness and wellness initiatives, please contact Jackie Halbin at 913-744-2422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.