Why we need to Retool Use it or lose it

The July/ August 2009 issue of The Jour­nal on Active Aging includes my arti­cle Why We Need to RetoolUse It Or Lose It

An excerpt:

By now you have prob­a­bly heard about brain plas­tic­i­ty, the life­long capac­i­ty of the brain to change and rewire itself in response to the stim­u­la­tion of learn­ing and expe­ri­ence. The lat­est sci­en­tif­ic research shows that spe­cif­ic lifestyles and actions can improve the health and lev­el of func­tion­ing of our brains, no mat­ter our age.

Of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance to main­tain­ing cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing through life are the hip­pocam­pus (deep inside the brain, part of what is called the lim­bic sys­tem), which plays a role in learn­ing and mem­o­ry; and the frontal lobes (behind your fore­head), which are key to main­tain­ing deci­sion-mak­ing and auton­o­my. Is there a way to phys­i­cal­ly pro­tect these parts of the aging brain? Yes. But the right answer is far from “do one more cross­word puz­zle” or “do more X” (what­ev­er X is). The key is to add sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties to ensure a flow of nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge, com­bin­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise while not ignor­ing fac­tors such as stress man­age­ment and bal­anced nutrition.

We need, in oth­er words, to retool our under­stand­ing and prac­tice of “Use it or lose it.” We must focus on the impor­tance of get­ting out of our phys­i­cal and men­tal rou­tines and activ­i­ties to get the ben­e­fits of real exercise—physical and mental.”

Con­tin­ue read­ing Why We Need to RetoolUse It Or Lose It

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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