The More You Move the Better Your Brain Works
Age used to be accepted as a time to slow down, and sometimes even come close to stopping. Sitting seemed to win out over walking every time. But researchers have now pointed out that moving more may help your brain function better too.
A neighbor of mine was a very active guy in his late seventies. He gardened, walked, enjoyed parties with his family and looked much younger than he was. Then he took a fall, and soon life seemed to spin backwards, as he sat on the couch, stopped seeing friends and skipped his walks.
Before the situation got totally out of hand, a son stepped in and through a series of doctor’s visits, better diet and more activity, my friend regained his life. Now he is a regular on the block out walking and talking with friends. He’s also seen in his garden working on a fresh crop of tomatoes.
Another friend of mine hit a low point in her early sixties with a bad fall. She was determined and regained most of her life after several months of recovery. But her previous times in the park with her grandson and her outings with friends had definitely shrunk. It was also obvious in her mental alertness and overall attitude.
Several friends jumped in to see what could be done. A series of senior exercise programs, tai chi classes in the park, and small trips got her moving again and the transition was amazing. She became the life of the party again thanks to her friends and her new activities. Researchers now say staying physically active as you age may fight off brain damage that could in turn limit mobility. Daily physical activity may be doing a lot more than most of us thought. One research study showed seniors who exercised the most scored much higher than inactive seniors in a series of movement tests.
Activity always has to be tailored to the individual and starting slow is always the best approach. Pick a safe, enjoyable activity that emphasizes moving. The result may be some valuable protection for the brain as a person moves through their senior years. This effort to be active may weigh in throughout a senior’s life helping to improve every facet, physically and mentally. And there are sure to be more tests assessing overall activity, mental awareness, and ongoing mobility.
But the bottom line right now seems to weigh in on the side of using movement to improve life.