Friday, March 13, 2009

I Love Brains

I mentioned neuroplasticity to a friend the other day, and bless her heart, she went right over to Wikipedia and found out what I was talking about. I absolutely love the internet as a way to learn new things. Since Rory's dad had Alzheimer's before he died, and statistically we all have a 50% chance of a decline in brain function as we age, I decided to get proactive in learning what we can do to keep our brains healthy.

PBS put out a DVD called The Brain Fitness Program. In one hour it covers a lot of new scientific findings on neuroplasticity, and interviews a number of people who love brains, even someone who had damaged his brain and was able to recover significantly. The fitness part could have been covered in just a few minutes. So for those of you who are not running to the library to check out the DVD, I will recap.(After some brief visual stimulation.)

These things are bad for your brain and will increase your chances of function loss:
*Repetitive tasks, things you can do without thinking (like vacuuming and dishes and laundry - I knew there was a reason why I hated that stuff.)
*Stress, worry and anxiety (In the 37th Psalm, David said "do not fret, it leads only to evil" I can't think of anything more evil than ending life non compos mentis.)

Here is the list of positive things you can do to keep your brain healthy:
*Do the little things in a new way to engage your brain. Try brushing your teeth with the other hand. (Tell me if you come up with an engaging way to dust and do laundry!)
*Exercise to improve your cardio vascular health. The more oxygen you get into your blood stream, the more is also reviving your brain. (If you yawn a lot, it means your brain needs to get some fresh air.)
*Exercise helps in another way too. Brains are actually found to be much more active and engaged during physical exercise than while sitting still. There is a lot going on up there keeping us balanced and making the autonomic systems function together. For me, I love to take a walk in the middle of the morning, especially if I feel stuck in a project. I always come back with new inspiration and ideas.
*Rest and sleeping well is important too.
*Learning obviously is helpful to the brain. What is the last thing you learned? Was it High School Spanish? You can learn more Spanish and build on that foundation, keeping your brain healthy. (At the automated check out at the grocery store, I pushed the Espanole button even though I never studied Spanish, it was engaging to say the least.) Pick up a musical instrument again (if you've put it down) and increase your proficiency. Play chess. The cranium games are good too. We need to keep learning and trying new things.

Now I am going to take along walk through the neighborhood, and pray for the kids in school as I walk by. When I get back, I will be working on a couple of sewing patterns that people are waiting for. If I get stuck, I won't worry, I will read the Sermon on the Mount in Spanish and take a nap.

Hasta la vista, baby! and via con Dios, of course. My spell checker doesn't work in Spanish. I might have to actually learn it instead of just pretending.... 'cause I know some of you are in California, where English is the second language, but that is another story...


Randi said...

Can I just say that you make me smile all the time! I love this post. I knew there was a reason I'd rather teach myself ASL than do dishes. A much more productive use of hands if you ask me.
Oh, and your "Espanole" es muy divertido! ;)

elsiee said...

lovely post!! my poor sad little brain is sooo seriously sleep deprived right now- YIKES!!

as your "spanish speaking friend in residence" it's Vaya con Dios!! but I love that you wrote in spanish!! muchas gracias chica bonita!!

StudioCherie said...

Randi, I laughed out loud when I read your comment. I even understood it!
Elsie, I guess I am mixing my Latin and Spanish. At least I know the difference which makes me smarter than a polititian!
You ladies impress me with your multi-lingual capabilites, not to mention the cool stuff you make!
A bien tot!
Yes, my French spelling even leaves something to be desired. Heck, I can hardly spell in English.

Ronnie said...

Simpatikissimo! No Spanish spell check here either.
You are such a wit. I am giving you a standing (okay, sitting) ovation for the performance of your brain!!!