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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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 biofeedback sensor
- If you can only do one thing, set aside 5–10 minutes to just breathe deeply and recharge!
Lexi Sundell says
This article is now included in the Carnival of Creative Growth #1 at http://www.energiesofcreation.com/carnival-of-creative-growth/carnival-of-creative-growth‑1/.
Come see the other excellent and diverse articles!
Thank you for submitting this article.
I’m an old woman but have practiced your ‘pillars’ for many decades. In addition I take vitamins and supplements that I’ve learned by experience keeps me at my best. I take no medications and have had no illnessess, even colds, for many years.
I combine my daily exercise routine at home with breathing exercises, and it’s really marvelous. The entire process, which I repeat twice daily, is almost like a zen experience, leaving me not fatigued but refreshed, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Congratulations on taking such good care of yourself! Keep it up — you’re a role model for the rest of us!
Nice tips, thanks. It’s a good idea to take fish oil pills i guess.
Glad to be of help!
uthara mohan says
am an adult who is a little over weight.And am very happy that i saw this site…i do my exercises twice n a day..and i wld like to know what kind of diet i need 2 have..i relly do need ur help..plz do give me the needed advice
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.
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.
Burt Silver says
These are great tips, especially the one about having good nutrition. I’ve noticed that it’s really helped my head stay clear and focused when I eat healthier. I also think the stress management is definitely important. Getting enough sleep and everything so that you can stay focused on your goals the next day without being drowsy.