Tag Archives: health

Brain Train Your Way to Better Performance: The FINGER Study

According to a recent study published in the journal The Lancet (March 2015) brain training, exercise, healthy eating and management of risk factors seems to maintain or improve cognitive function and delay cognitive decline.  The Finnish Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) is the first of its’ kind, ground breaking trial to combat some of the key high risk factors for dementia (eg. Heart health, high BMI).

Method

1260 Finns aged 60-77 were randomly divided equally between the control group who were given general health tips and the intervention group.  The latter had regular meetings with healthcare professionals and were given comprehensive guidance on healthy eating, exercise programs, brain training and managing metabolic and vascular risk factors, for example, with regular blood exams.

Findings

After 2 years, the participants’ cognitive performance was assessed with a standard exam, the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB).  The overall scores for the intervention group were higher by 25%.  The remarkable results for certain sections of the exam, processing speed at 150% and executive functioning at 83% were even higher.  Executive function refers to the brain’s capacity to manage, plan and execute thought processes.

“Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive program aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.” Professor Kivipelto, lead Researcher – Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland

Train & Play with Fit Brains

Your brain is like a muscle, it can grow fitter and stronger with exercise. Train and play with Fit Brains. Fit Brains exercises help stimulate and sharpen your mind. Remember more, focus better and think faster. Do more every day. You can play Fit Brains on any web browser or train or train on-the-go with our IOS, Android or Amazon app!   

Play Fit Brains

Journal Reference

Tiia Ngandu, Jenni Lehtisalo, Alina Solomon, Esko Levälahti, Satu Ahtiluoto, Riitta Antikainen, Lars Bäckman, Tuomo Hänninen, Antti Jula, Tiina Laatikainen, Jaana Lindström, Francesca Mangialasche, Teemu Paajanen, Satu Pajala, Markku Peltonen, Rainer Rauramaa, Anna Stigsdotter-Neely, Timo Strandberg, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Hilkka Soininen, Miia Kivipelto. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trialThe Lancet, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60461-5

Tips on How to Sleep Better

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One of the biggest boosts you can give your brain is a good night’s sleep.  Adequate sleep is vital to proper brain function.  Without it — our judgment, reaction time, memory and other brain functions may be impaired.  According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one night of lost sleep has the same impact in simulated driving tests as illegally high blood-alcohol levels.

Turn in early to give yourself 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night (this is considered average, though some people may need as few as 5 or as many as 10 hours.)  For many, falling asleep is a challenge.  Anxiety, stress, pain, interpersonal conflicts and medication all impact one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.  Luckily, sleep is a learned behaviour and you can change it.

7 Suggestions to Improve Your Sleep

  1. Cut down on caffeine – Even if you don’t stop it completely, reducing makes a difference.
  2. Get more exercise – Walk daily, you will notice a difference immediately.
  3. Listen to a soothing CD before bed.  Or try white noise to create a background.
  4. Take a warm bath before bed.
  5. Maintain a regular schedule. Going to bed and getting up around the same time help you develop a rhythm that can make falling asleep easier.
  6. Spruce up your sleeping area. A comfortable mattress, comfortable bedding and blackout curtains can make a world of difference.
  7. Use the bed for sleep, not channel or Internet surfing.

Make sure you bookmark our blog & check back often for more health & lifestyle tips!  Also, remember to keep your brain sharp by training with Fit Brains!

10 Quotes on Gratitude & Being Thankful

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Thanksgiving may be full of feasts & festivities, but it is important to remember the true meaning of this holiday.  Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, all about being thankful.

Thanksgiving is a day for everyone to reflect upon themselves and count their blessings.  We worry about many things on a daily basis and let obstacles and small difficulties in life consume us.  It is nice to have a day where we can slow down and acknowledge everything we have in life.  Having gratitude not only shows appreciation, but will help us become happier, more satisfied, healthier, and overall better people.

Here are 10 quotes from influential individuals on giving thanks & being thankful, we hope these will inspire you to celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude!

 

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Meister Eckhart 

“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”
Dalai Lama

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Epicurus

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Maya Angelou

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
Alice Walker

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Oprah Winfrey

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
The Buddha

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”
Woody Allen

Happy Thanksgiving from the Fit Brains team!

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NEW Fit Brains app — Test your health & lifestyle choices!

mzl.pevlnnov.175x175-75A new Fit Brains app has been released on the iTunes app store!

Introducing Fit Brains: Brain Health Lifestyle Assessment — a FREE iOS app to test your health & lifestyle choices, complete with detailed feedback & improvement suggestions!

fit brains lifestyle assessment

Based on your answers from the assessment, the app is designed to provide personalized educational & informational suggestions to help you make step by step changes for a healthier brain & overall life.  

Fit Brains Lifestyle Assessment

After completing the test, you will receive a Brain Health Lifestyle Score with detailed summaries & suggestions on 5 health and lifestyle areas:

  1. Physical Activity
  2. Mental Stimulation
  3. Socialization
  4. Spirituality
  5. Nutrition

Fit Brains Lifestyle AssessmentFit Brains Lifestyle Assessment 

You are encouraged to re-take the test periodically to see statistics on your improvements.

Same as all Fit Brains apps, the data in the Fit Brains: Lifestyle Assessment app is retrieved from the extensive scientific research done by leading neuroscientists & neuropsychologists in the United States, including Dr. Paul Nussbaum, one of the top clinical neuropsychologists in the U.S. with more than 50 peer reviewed publications.

So what are you waiting for?  Click HERE to download the app NOW to improve your life & make it the best it can be!  After your 1st assessment, share your health & lifestyle goals with us in the comments below, on our Facebook, or Twitter!

40 Healthy Alternatives to Sugar Cravings

fruit kebabs

We have compiled a list of 40 healthier alternatives you can reach for when the sugar cravings pounce.  Limit your children’s consumption of candy as well by offering them some of these treats instead!

  1. Fruit kebabs
  2. Berry salad
  3. Dried fruits
  4. Chewing gum
  5. A square or two of dark chocolate
  6. Home-made fruit & yogurt popsicles
  7. Mashed sweet potatoes
  8. Healthy smoothie
  9. Unsweetened Greek yogurt topped with fruits
  10. Low sugar frozen yogurt/Sorbet
  11. Light chocolate milk
  12. Peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat toast
  13. Pretzels dipped in melted dark chocolate
  14. Blended frozen bananas
  15. Baked apple stuffed with nuts & oats
  16. Fruit custard
  17. Frozen grapes
  18. Healthy muffins
  19. Trail mix
  20. Whole grain cinnamon raisin toast
  21. Light banana bread
  22. Oatmeal topped with brown sugar & cinnamon
  23. Hot cocoa made with low-fat milk
  24. Fruit spread on crackers
  25. Coconut water
  26. Dates
  27. Prunes
  28. Flavoured tea
  29. Water with lemon or orange slices
  30. Nuts with a little honey drizzled on top
  31. Sweet corn
  32. Cherry tomatoes
  33. Dill pickles
  34. Baby carrots
  35. Baked sweet potato or squash fries
  36. Popcorn mixed with bits of dark chocolate
  37. Healthy granola bars
  38. Chocolate flavoured rice cakes
  39. Light jello
  40. Low fat milk with a little honey

What do you eat when you crave something sweet?  Share with us in the comments below!

Fit Brains’ List of Happiness!

laughter

Besides keeping your mind sharp & active with brain training, one of the key points to having a healthy brain is making sure you are thinking happy thoughts!

This is why the Fit Brains team have created our on-going user-generated List of Happiness!  Anyone who needs a little pick-me-up at anytime will just have to visit this list to break a smile :) 

YOU can be a part of this list too…

What is one thing that triggers happiness in YOUR brain?  

Leave us your happy answer in the comments & we’ll add it to the list!

  • “Dancing keeps my body and mind happy and healthy” – Carol A. Keierleber
  • “MUSIC triggers happiness in my brain!” – Jordan Leo Yelle
  • “Books!” – Ulanda Dargis
  • “Spending time with my granddaughter” – Sharon Bylevedlt
  • “My pets” – Sylenda Harvey
  • “Meditation” – Ravel Viirsalu
  • “A hug” – Wendy Vanns
  • “Walk quickly 40 minutes/day” – Charles Eggerstedt
  • “Riding my bike to the local park to watch the sunset over the mountains” – Deane Alban
  • “Planting seeds” – Gail Asher Wells
  • “Seeing a smile” – Denise Gooch Orr

Fit Brains Trainer – App for Students!

Fit Brains Trainer

Did you know Fit Brains Trainer is also a very useful app and excellent tool for students?

High school, college, grad school students listen up:  Fit Brains Trainer can help you work out & train the crucial brain areas you use when you learn, study, and take exams!

The games you play will automatically adapt to your skill level and recommendations will be given based on your strengths & weaknesses.  You will be able to track your performance with tools & progress charts, and compare & compete with peers to improve your scores!  Most useful of all, you can target your training at different brain areas you know you need to improve.

Fit Brains for Students

All Fit Brains games are categorized into the 5 major brain areas of Memory, Speed, Concentration, Problem-Solving, and Visual.  Below are some tips to help you find out what brain area you should focus on:

  • Play Fit Brains Memory games if you need help remembering exam notes, remembering presentation speeches, and recalling what your professor taught in class,
  • Play Fit Brains Speed games if you constantly run out of time to write exams, if you want to answer questions faster when a professor calls on you, or if you want to improve your processing time and skill when reading textbooks.
  • Play Fit Brains Concentration games if you have a hard time focusing on studying, if you constantly fall asleep in class, or if your mind wanders around a lot when writing exams.
  • Play Fit Brains Problem-Solving games if you want to get better at noticing issues and problems, analysing information, and finding effective solutions in a timely manner.
  • Play Fit Brains Visual games if you need to improve on identifying differences visually.  These games are most useful for students that consistently need to look at highly visual details or images, and students that look at charts and fluctuating numbers on a daily basis.

What are you waiting for? Download the app now, ace your exams, & challenge your friends for the fittest brain!

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