Normal aging is associated with progressive functional decline in perception, cognition (thought, reasoning, etc.), and memory. Memory problems, for example, may begin as early as age 30 and worsen slowly, but steadily thereafter. As we age, our brain cells, called neurons, lose the tree-like connections between them. These connections or synapses are essential to thought and memory. We also know the brain has lifelong capacity for physical and functional change, i.e. neuroplasticity. This plasticity allows the brain to “rewire” itself and, thus, improve cognitive functions and memory.
At The Stress Institute, we apply Dr. Hall’s S.E.L.F. Care Program® to improve our cognitive function and memory. Serenity, meditation, and/or other calming exercises or practices help prevent and/or ameliorate stress, which we know is “bad” for brain cells. Stress disturbs cognitive processes, such as learning and memory. Exercise such as walking, yoga, or other aerobic activities may forestall some kinds of mental decline and may even help restore memory.
Physical exercise increases capillary development in the brain; thus, delivering more blood supply, more nutrients, and more oxygen. We now have revolutionary, noninvasive, computer- based brain exercises that improve cognitive function and memory. Recent studies show these brain exercises can improve cognitive function and memory an average of 10-12 years. Although it appears early, this improvement can last an average of 5-6 years.
With continuing periodic brain exercises, we may be able to hold these gains and/or delay further decline. Hopefully, these brain exercises or brain fitness programs may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in those predetermined to develop this grave disease. Love, relationships or being in a community, help as we have a more positive outlook on life, less depression, and less stress—all of which are damaging to memory and cognitive function. Lastly we tend to laugh more and have a better sense of humor when in groups or a community. This stimulates dopamine production, an important neurotransmitter that speeds synapses between neurons.
Food is another path to a “better” brain. Antioxidants play an essential role in disease prevention and as cancer fighters. Eating foods which contain these molecules will help neutralize harmful free radicals that can cause a breakdown of neurons or brain cells. Many colorful fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, blueberries, beans, and whole grains are packed with antioxidants.
For further questions or information about The Stress Institute’s Brain Fitness, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.