SPANDEX NOT REQUIRED
Here’s some great news regarding exercising our brains that may even appeal to those of us who view any physical exercise beyond thumbing our TV remote as excessive.
Aerobics have long been recognized as a workout proven to trim thighs and waistlines while also improving stamina and cardio-vascular health. Now an author is suggesting we can also provide a beneficial exercise for our brains that does not include having to wear stretchy, pastel-colored gym apparel. It’s called “Neurobics”.
BREAK THE ROUTINE
Co-author of the new book, “Keeping your Brain Alive”, (Workman Publishing, $8.95), Manning Rubin, tells us that, “…breaking with routine is like having your brain cells lifting barbells”. Exercising our brain neurons, (Neurobics), can help us keep our brains healthy and strong as we advance in years, just as step aerobics help trim our flabby backsides.
Here are some of his suggestions:
- Try something new every day: Break away from your comfortable patterns of daily activities and stretch your comfort zone. Work to learn new skills however small they may be. Engage in a new hobby. Cook interesting new dishes from recipes previously untried rather than ordering familiar take-out. Learn and try to use a new language. Start playing bridge or other new card games that cause you to think. Purposely vary your familiar routines.
- Mix things up: Rearrange your kitchen and pantry cabinets so that while they are still conveniently arranged, they cause you to think as you are going about your kitchen routines. Sit at a different place at the dinner table. Trade chores with other family members. Trade sides of the bed with your sleeping partner. Just shuffle the deck of your familiar daily chores and habits.
- Close your eyes: Take time to use your other senses. Sit outside and listen to the birds in your yard or neighborhood children playing with your eyes closed. Learn to identify objects by touch or scent rather than sight. Take time to smell your food and try to distinguish different spices and ingredients.
- Make life your gym: Give continual consideration to what you could alter about your everyday routines to make them feel different. Drive a different route to familiar locations. Eat different (healthy) foods. Wear your watch on your other arm. Watch foreign movies to dust off your high school Spanish or French while cheating with the movie sub-titles. Just “mix it up”. Vary your daily routines and habits.
- Use your non-dominant hand: Try dressing and grooming while predominately using your “other hand”. If you’re right handed, use your left hand to feed yourself. Listen to phone calls using your other ear rather than the one you most often use. Unfortunately, some of this may pay off should you ever experience partial paralysis following a stroke or injury.
FIND NEW PATHWAYS
All of these exercises force your brain to think in different ways, which is very good for improved brain health. This helps to build new neuron pathways within our brains while we also stretch our mental comfort zones. Plus, you can even do all this while wearing stretchy, pastel-colored gym clothes if it makes you feel better.