Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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.

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

31 Responses

  1. Lexi Sundell says:

    This arti­cle is now includ­ed in the Car­ni­val of Cre­ative Growth #1 at
    Come see the oth­er excel­lent and diverse arti­cles!
    Thank you for sub­mit­ting this arti­cle.

  2. Peggy says:

    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.

  3. Caroline says:


    Con­grat­u­la­tions on tak­ing such good care of your­self! Keep it up — you’re a role mod­el for the rest of us!

  4. Nice tips, thanks. It’s a good idea to take fish oil pills i guess.

  5. Alvaro says:

    Glad to be of help!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

Leave a Reply

Categories: Health & Wellness

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

All Slidedecks & Recordings Available — click image below

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.