I am not a tech-savvy person by any means. I missed the boat there. Part of my goal with this blog is to further my knowledge and skills in the process! I had been having trouble with my Mac for a while. It kept telling me I had no space, start-up disc full. I’d delete documents and a bunch of pictures now and then. I couldn’t understand why the messages didn’t stop! The other day, I prepared to print pictures by the mass to put into photo albums, knowing this would be a fun way to reminisce with the kids. Low and behold, the piece of junk wasn’t working (I sound 80, I know)! A more knowledgeable friend helped me figure out that the 8,200 pictures and 300 videos on my Mac was likely the problem! I am probably making myself a target for cyber-theft by sending this confession out into virtual space… Anyhow, the reminiscing and realization of my current lack of tech skills motivated this post.
I think it’s safe to say that most people understand that the effort we put into healthy living and physical activity in particular, will benefit our quality of life as we age. However, I am not sure it is as common knowledge, the impact exercise may play on our mind as we age. Along with aging come changes to the brain which cause decline in cognitive function. Studies suggest that exercise can help prevent atrophy and degeneration within parts of the brain related to memory (Gregory, Parker, and Thompson, 2012). Smith (2016), highlights consistent positive effects of combined physical activity in combination with cognitive activities or “brain fitness” on cognitive health of aging adults. Though there are cross sectional and longitudinal studies which support the benefit of exercise on brain health, researchers emphasize the need for larger scale studies following the impact of lifestyle and health behaviours of individuals from an earlier age for the potential to prevent age-related cognitive decline… We can sit around and hope that we don’t end up with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or any other diseases related to cognitive decline. We can hope that the pharmaceutical industry finds a pill to “fix” symptoms related to such diseases. We can also do everything in our power to try and prevent or diminish effects of age related atrophy or degeneration.
I challenge you to go out and get some form of exercise every day this week! Try and get a bit of “brain fitness” in daily too! If you can combine the two, even better! Go for a walk, try and learn a new skill, try a new form of physical activity, learn a new form of dance! For your sake, and that of your children, please remember that you are strong enough to make sure you do everything in your power NOW, to enjoy the moments and memories in your future.
Tag your daily exercise and brain fitness on Instagram with #formymemories
Gregory, S. M., Parker, B., & Thompson, P. D. (2012). Physical activity, cognitive function, and brain health: what is the role of exercise training in the prevention of dementia?. Brain sciences, 2(4), 684-708.
Smith, G. E. (2016). Healthy cognitive aging and dementia prevention. American Psychologist, 71(4), 268.
Kang, S., & Kang, S. The study of exercise and health services platform for prevention of dementia. Cluster Computing, 1-6.
Voelker, R. (2010). Effective Prevention Remains Elusive for Cognitive Decline and Dementia. JAMA, 303(24), 2462-2462.