Get Moving for Your Memory (even if you’re out of shape or physically limited)

March 25, 2010 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

Get Moving, and Improve Your Mind! Image by hortongrou on Stock.Xchng If you’re looking for a quick brain boost, nothing compares to the benefits of physical activity.  One study after another has confirmed that exercise improves, maintains and protects cognitive functions in a whole wealth of ways( and that’s in addition to all of the other healthy goodness that being active and fit brings)

But actually *being* active?

Sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially as we age. Injury, illness, and just general out-of-shapeness make the idea of going to the gym or jogging around the park out of the question.

So what can we do, when our bodies just can’t drop to the floor and give us 100 push-ups anymore?

We adapt, and find new, gentler ways to keep our bodies moving – ways that don’t involve “pushing past the pain” (as many people were taught to do in their youth) but still keep the blood pumping and oxygen flowing.  You don’t have to be a full-fledged senior athlete in order to get the benefits of exercise!

A few suggestions? Sure thing! But first that standard disclaimer – be sure and check with your doctor before starting any kind of new exercise program.  Really.  We mean it!

Ok, on with the exercise ideas!

1. Walking.

Whether it’s around your neighborhood, in the park, or on a treadmill, walking is just good exercise.  Start slow, with short distances and comfortable speeds, and work your way up.  Walking outdoors, on community tracks or even in malls is popular, and has its benefits… but  home treadmills are good options for many of us, too.

Treadmills don’t provide the varied terrain or environment of “natural” walking, but if you get tired, you can stop just where you are, and there are some pretty cool videos available that allow you to feel like you’re walking through a rainforest or national park!  Check out these, available through Amazon: Scenic walk videos – or if you’re in the mood for a bike trip, there’s a series made for cycling, too! Bike-0-Vision DVDs

2. Balance Balls

Balance balls are sort of like overgrown beach balls, that you sit on.   I know, I know, it seems silly, but it’s actually good exercise.  Just sitting on one for a while works on your balance and helps develop your core muscles.  It’s easy to start even if you’re very out of shape, and as you improve, there are a wide variety of exercise routines built around them, from simple to advanced.

3. Chair Dancing

Dance is great exercise, but not everyone can get up and boogie.  Joints stiffen, hips give out, and sometimes our bodies just don’t let us standup and do the jitterbug anymore.  But that doesn’t mean dancing is out of the question!

Enter chair dancing… dancing in a chair.  You can still move your feet, twist, and shout… you just don’t do it standing up!  For examples, check out these videos (again, from Amazon): Chair Dancing Dvds

In fact, there are a whole series chair aerobics and other exercises.

4. Water Aerobics

Doing your workout in the pool not only cushions the body, keeps weight off your joints and prevents falls, the water actually increases the resistance and gives you a more effective workout! Many senior and community centers, pools and colleges offer these courses, and it’s definitely worth checking into — or if you’re lucky enough to have your own pool, there are water aerobics dvd’s available, too!

These are just a few of the possibilities.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean a workout in the gym.  It can be a walk in the park, a game of golf, or just moving to the music.   All kinds of physical activities can benefit your brain (as well as your overall health).

How ’bout you? Have any creative ways to get active?

Entry filed under: Be Physically Active!. Tags: , , .

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About This Blog

A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness



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