Would you care to know how to gain an advantage in winning games of strategy? The key to having a good edge on your opponent is to keep yourself healthy and in good physical condition. Get your butt up off the couch and move your body a minimum of three times per week for at least thirty minutes at a time and get your heart rate elevated. Exercise stimulates blood flow to the brain, supplying it with a hefty dose of oxygen and nutrients. It also minimizes plaque build up inside of your blood vessels which allows your blood to flow freely. Sitting on your couch eating Cheeto’s is not going to do this for you.
Exercise is a stress reducer that will help to pick up your spirits and will contribute to an increase of your self esteem. Studies have demonstrated that getting your heart rate elevated through regular exercise also supplies your brain with natural substances called neurotropins which enhance cell growth and assists in processing information. Neurotransmitter levels, in particular norepinephrine, which helps in memory storage and retrieval, also increase by as much as 29 percent with exercise. When couch potatoes get converted into folks who actually do exercise vigorously, they display dramatic improvements in their ability to think on their feet, their reaction times improve as well thier memory and concentration as well. It is amazing how exericise can change an individual’s memory and intellect. As a platoon segeant I once took over a platoon where my soldiers had not been made to PT regular, Although they grumbled about 0430 (4:30am) physical fitness training at first, over a short time, their motivation and morale increased significantly. Folks who feel good physically, can, and will feel better mentally too.
If you take positive steps to de-stress your life through habitual exericise, if you make it an important element of your lifestyle, you will notice an improvement in your thought processes. Your thinking will begin to have a great deal more clarity. The stress hormone cortisol inteferes with your brains capability to use glucose. This interference will result in an energy shortage that inhibits your brains ability to retain memories and places your mental function in the slow lane. Cortisol also blocks nerve chemical activity, which interfers with your brains ability to relay information, and retards reaction times, memory, creative thinking, and concentration. Lastly, cortisol kills brain cells by disrupting brain cell activity, and slowing removal of waste products from the brains cells., while generating an excessive amount of free radicals. It does not matter what in the world it takes in order to reduce stress in your life, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to do so. Build your own support network of family and or friends, cut back on responsibilities if you are able, learn to meditate, do yoga, walk, jog run and or lift weights. Do something, anything. You might be sitting there right now snarfing down a large bowl of ice cream thinking that despite being over weight and not being one to eat healthy, that you are doing just fine. But, the reality is you should be thinking about how much better you can be doing instead of just settling on being “good enough.”
Your attitude about life is another huge factor that either boosts your brain power or undermines it. The power of your attitude can go a long way in either enhancing your quality of life, or conversely, diminishing it. People who expect to lose mental abilities as they age inevitably do so at a much higher rate than those who exect to still be able to think clearly into their senior years. It can be a self fulfilling prophesy. Living an active life that is mentally stimulating along with increasing your level of knowledge through education, hedges your bets against memory loss in the future. Before anyone jumps in that even well schooled individuals who have been active their entire lives still get dementia, please remember that Alzheimers and other brain deteriorations are often a result of their past diets. This is why Alzheimers is now often referred to as Type 3 Diabetes. Remember too that we are talking about mitigating your chances and there are no absolute guarentees of anything in life, but you can take steps to prevent bad circumstances if you so choose to do so.
In closing, remember that reprogramming your body’s aging process and reving your brains motor requires time. The younger you are when you begin taking care of yourself, the better your odds. If you are delusional enough to think you can simply pop a pill, walk a mile, meditate for ten minutes or order a “Smart Drink” at a local juice bar and then be more intelligent over night, think again. Ideally, providing your body with optimal levels of all the essential brain building nutrients, exercising daily or at least three times per week, and learning to cope effectively with stress should begin in childhood and be maintained throughout your life for a healthy, active, and long life of clear thinking and feeling good. As a parent, you are responsible and owe it to your children to establish this lifestyle early on. You set the example your children will often live by. Take a look in the mirror and decide if you want your child to be the one you see looking back at you from the reflection.
The good news is, you can halt the damage and begin building a better brain. Optimum nutrition, vigorous exercise, and a healthy diet will help rebuild and regenerate those tissues gradually so that within months to one year you should notice an improvement in memory, concentration, alertness and thinking.