I often am asked what one thing is most important for brain health promotion. I cannot answer this question because I do not believe there is such a thing. The human brain requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to health which is why I have developed my five part brain health lifestyle (see www.paulnussbaum.com).
I do believe that eating one meal a day with family members or even friends and those you may not know very well (be safe first) can be a major brain health activity. Sitting down to a meal helps you to slow down, you can listen to some music in the background, and tell stories over your meal. You can also use utensils that typically means you will eat healthier and eat less than when you eat with your fingers. These are several brain health boosts with one activity.
It is good to learn from Rasmussen Surveys that 65% of those surveyed by telephone eat with their family twice weekly. 38% eat a meal three times a week with their family and 27% report eating between two and three times weekly with their family. Only 22% do not eat with their family during the week.
I encourage everyone to carve out the special time necessary to sit down and eat a meal with your loved ones on a daily basis. Your brain and body will thank you.
A recent article in US News discussed the brain health of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the United States. An index that was comprised of diet (36%), physical health (25%), mental health (24%), and social well being (15%) was used to compare the states. Data was gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Health, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Results from the study revealed the following top ten brainiest cities:
1. Washington DC
3. Washington State
8. New Jersey
10. New Hampshire
It is important to be proactive in your brain health lifestyle. Dr. Nussbaum (www.paulnussbaum.com), Chief Scientific Officer for Fitbrains, Inc. underscores the importance of a brain health lifestyle that includes socialization, nutrition, physical activity, mental stimulation, and spirituality.
A recent study demonstrates daily surfing of the internet activates the brain of older persons. This is another example of how the environment in many forms can shape the brain and illustrates the power of neural plasticity.
24 neurologically healthy adults, aged 55 to 78, surfed the internet while their brains were being scanned by an MRI machine. Prior to the study, half the participants had used the internet daily while the other half had minimal experience. After the initial MRI scan, the participants were instructed to do internet searches for an hour a day for seven days in the next two weeks. Then they returned to the clinic for another MRI.
At baseline, those who had internet experience had much greater brain activation relative to those without internet experience. However, those who practiced on the internet during the study demonstrated significant activation in their brain to the point that they were nearly equal to the brains of the experienced internet users.
The idea of “use it or lose it” can really be taken a step further and the idea is to “use it in new ways” and novelty and complexity really is the foundation to brain health.
Mind training and meditation is now being used by some parts of the military. The mind body connection is now being recognized by military leaders to teach soldiers how to build confidence, set goals and channel their energy to a higher focus. The benefits of such training include better aim on the shooting range, higher test scores, enhanced ability to handle combat stress and to adjust back to civilian life. In fact nearly 70% of a small sample of soldiers who completed the training reported they felt better able to handle stressful situations and 66% had improved self control.
Neural energies is a term I use to describe the brain’s ability to modify or control internal workings of the body and external experiences. The mind training is but a first step to more advanced neural energy utilization that we will witness in the near future.
Fuel for Life is unique nutrition-focused brain game designed to strengthen your logic skills, including: organization, routine, mental flexibility & working memory. The game also designed to inspire motivation towards a healthier lifestyle. Combining life-relevant information with an endearing Life Goal scrapbook theme, the game uniquely blends brain fitness, nutritional awareness and fun!
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Stress is an outcome of a diverse and complex interface physiology and psychology that results in increased cortisol, anxiety, depression, cognitive dysfunction, and adverse bodily functions.
Research indicates a relationship between increased cortisol, increased depression, and increased risk of heart disease. Factors that promote stress and lead to this reaction need to be recognized, confronted, and changed. How does one reduce stress?
This is the million dollar question, but the answer does not need to be complicated. One simple remedy for stress reduction is to increase the amount of fun in your life. While this sounds great and even easy, Americans and others may actually find this difficult. Humans tend to fill up all the minutes in their day with tasks and forget to secure free time and fun time in their life.
Games are a good example of fun and stress reduction. Fitbrains.com provides online brain games for mental exercise and to promote cognitive functioning. These brain games are also fun and personal. Consumers indicate that two primary reasons they play online games (like the ones at Fitbrains.com) are for stress reduction and mental stimulation.
If you are experiencing stress in your life and need to try something new to help generate some fun in your life, I suggest you take a few moments and play a brain game or two at Fitbrains.com.
Have some Fun!
Recently, Fitbrains was reviewed by Discovery Magazine
Fitbrains:Comprehensive brain fitness site featuring 10 games plus a word challenge for team play. Tests fall into five cognitive categories: memory, language, concentration, logic/reasoning, and visuospatial skills. Sports a blog and a list of scientific advisers. Boasts “Guilt Free Fun!”
What’s unique: Complex, richly illustrated and thought-out games with different levels and basic story lines. For example, in “Hidden Masterpiece” you are a painting-repair specialist who sells reconstructed works of art at auction, testing visuospatial ability and concentration.
Downsides: After a seven-day free trial expires, the site is $9.95 a month or $79.95 a year. Some games may actually be too complex and time-consuming. In “Busy Bistro” you scan ingredients and cooking instructions, then try to remember the items by filling out a virtual grocery list. That’s just for starters: One round takes almost five minutes, and there are five more courses to follow.
Bonus: Get real recipes from “Busy Bistro,” like Crab and Swiss Melts.
Summed up: Very dynamic. Feels as if you are playing a console-based game at times. You can subscribe to track your progress and meet other Fit Brainers. Suitable for the committed brain athlete.
Rating: 4.5 lobes
The world economic situation is fertile ground for anxiety, some realistic and other perpetuated from misinformation and personal agendas. According to the National Sleep Foundation, One-third of Americans are losing sleep over the state of the U.S. economy and other personal financial concerns. The poll suggests that inadequate sleep is associated with unhealthy lifestyles and negatively impacts health and safety.
The Brain Fitness Blog has reported on this in the past and we believe it is important to take some time to consider the following as methods for coping with these uncertain times:
- 1. Information and knowledge will help to reduce anxiety, even when the information is not positive. Most of us experience anxiety or unease when we are confronted with uncertainty. As such, it is a good idea to spend some time researching the economic issues (stock market, credit, employment, etc) from a variety of viewpoints. You may have noticed that reading and predicting the economy is not a science, but for those in the stock market, there are predictable patterns based on many years of past behavior. This should provide some certainty even though the present represents a turbulent time.
- 2. Meet with your financial planner to review all investments and liabilities. He or she will help you reduce your risk and loss while planning appropriately for the near and long term future.
- 3. Have a family meeting to discuss the issues and to provide a forum to express fears and hopes. Make a family plan that adapts spending and saving to the current market demands.
- 4. Place a focus on your emotional condition and make an extra effort to exercise and eat healthy. This will enable your body to handle the stress better.
- 5. This is a great time to use relaxation procedures such as breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Meditation is also a good daily activity.
- 6. Have faith in our human innovative and adaptive nature and believe that we will survive this period of uncertainty.
- 7. Reach out to others who may be in a particularly difficult situation and offer them your time and friendship.
Fit Brains brain games.
Memory Mountain Themepark is a brain game designed to strengthen Short-term, Long-term and Visual Memory. You have recently purchased your very own amusement park. You must effectively remember names, faces and personal traits in order to successfully hire a team of skilled workers to operate the rides and help build the park into a world-renowned Flagship Themepark.
- Improves your memory of names, faces and personal traits
- Strengthens Short-term, Long-term and Visual Memory
- Remember names, faces and personal traits in order to successfully hire a team of skilled workers to operate and help build the park into a world-renowned Flagship Themepark.
Memory Mountain Themepark is a memory game. Click here to play Memory Mountain Themepark