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Improve Brain Health Now: Easy Steps

We can sum­ma­rize a lot of research by say­ing that there are four essen­tial pil­lars to main­tain­ing a healthy brain that func­tions bet­ter now and lasts longer. Those pil­lars are:

  • 1) Phys­i­cal Exercise
  • 2) Men­tal Exercise
  • 3) Good Nutrition
  • 4) Stress Management

Great … now what?! How do you develop a healthy lifestyle that includes all four pil­lars? Let’s look at each one.

  1. 1. Phys­i­cal Exer­cise
    • - Start by talk­ing to your doc­tor, espe­cially if you are not cur­rently phys­i­cally active, have spe­cial health con­cerns, or are mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant changes to your cur­rent program.
    • - Set a goal that you can achieve. Do some­thing you enjoy for even just 15 min­utes a day. You can always add more time and activ­i­ties later.
    • - Sched­ule exer­cise into your daily rou­tine. It will be become a habit faster if you do.
    • - If you can only do one thing, do some­thing car­dio­vas­cu­lar, mean­ing some­thing that gets your heart beat­ing faster. This includes walk­ing, run­ning, ski­ing, swim­ming, bik­ing, hik­ing, ten­nis, bas­ket­ball, play­ing tag, ulti­mate Fris­bee, and other sim­i­lar sports/activities.
  2. 2. Men­tal Exer­cise
    • - Be curi­ous! Get to know your local library and com­mu­nity col­lege, look for local orga­ni­za­tions or churches that offer classes or workshops
    • - Do a vari­ety of things, includ­ing things you aren’t good at (if you like to sing, try paint­ing too)
    • - Work puz­zles like cross­words and sudoku or play games like chess and bridge
    • - Try a com­put­er­ized brain fit­ness pro­gram for a cus­tomized workout
    • - If you can only do one thing, learn some­thing new every day
  3. 3. Good Nutri­tion
    • - Eat a vari­ety of foods of dif­fer­ent col­ors with­out a lot of added ingre­di­ents or processes
    • - Plan your meals around your veg­eta­bles, and then add fruit, pro­tein, dairy, and/or grains
    • - Add some cold-water fish to your diet (tuna, salmon, mack­erel, hal­ibut, sar­dines, and her­ring) which con­tain omega-3 fatty acids
    • - Learn what a portion-size is, so you don’t overeat
    • - Try to eat more foods low on the Glycemic Index
    • - If you can only do one thing, eat more veg­eta­bles, par­tic­u­larly leafy green ones
  4. Stress Man­age­ment
    • - Get reg­u­lar car­dio­vas­cu­lar exercise
    • - Try to get enough sleep each night
    • - Keep con­nected with your friends and family
    • - Prac­tice med­i­ta­tion, yoga, or some other calm­ing activ­ity as way to take a relax­ing time-out (maybe a bath)
    • - Try train­ing with a heart rate vari­abil­ity sen­sor, like the one in emWave (for­merly known as Freeze-Framer)
    • - If you can only do one thing, set aside 5–10 min­utes to just breathe deeply and recharge

Spe­cial Offer: For a lim­ited time, you can receive a com­pli­men­tary copy of our Brain Fit­ness 101 e-Guide: Answers to your Top 25 Ques­tions, writ­ten by Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg and Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, by sub­scrib­ing to our monthly newslet­ter. You can sub­scribe Here.

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31 Responses

  1. Alvaro says:

    Uthara: make sure to come back to the site next week, when we will pub­lish a great inter­view with Dr. Judith Beck that will help solve your ques­tion. The key is not so much the spe­cific diet as improv­ing our moti­va­tion and dis­ci­pline to stick to a good nutri­tion over the long term.

  2. […] Check out the other ways to improve your brain health … […]

  3. […] I have read a good write-up about easy steps to improve brain health and these steps does not require you to invest for any­thing except for liv­ing a healthy life. It said that phys­i­cal exer­cise, men­tal exer­cise, good nutri­tion and stress man­age­ment are the essen­tial fac­tors to attain healthy brain that you can keep for years to come. […]

  4. […] How do you develop a healthy lifestyle that includes all four pil­lars? Take a look at Improve Brain Health Now: Easy Steps. addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sharpbrains.com%2Fblog%2F2007%2F11%2F08%2Fexercise-on-the-brain-a-nyt-oped%2F’; addthis_title = ‘Exercise+On+the+Brain%3A+a+NYT+OpEd’; addthis_pub = ‘sharp­brains’; Learn More about Brain Fit­ness About Our Sem­i­nars Find the Right Pro­gram Tags: brain exer­cise, Brain health, Good Nutri­tion, healthy aging, men­tal exer­cise, nyt, Phys­i­cal Exer­cise, stress management […]

  5. […] 21 Decem­ber, 2007 by Lars I was explor­ing some of the arti­cles on Sharpbrains.com today, and I dis­cov­ered a link to a nice site on meditation. […]

  6. Nick says:

    Nutri­tion is huge, but don’t for­get about rest! If you don’t eat prop­erly, you could prob­a­bly make your­self feel 110% bet­ter if you started eat­ing a bal­anced diet.

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