Having vascular dementia, I know the importance of keeping your body functions in good working condition. I, too, know the importance of exercise on your body and mind. New information in this area always interests me. With that in mind, let me tell you about a study published in the July 9th issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
German scientists conducted a study to see what changes occurred in the brain when people between 50 and 67 tried to learn a new skill: juggling three balls. (A group of much younger subjects also participated in this study so that a comparison could be made.) The subjects learned to juggle over a period of three months. At the end of the three months, most of the younger subjects had mastered juggling three balls. Only 25% of the elderly subjects could juggle well. However, even though the older subjects did not master the skill, MRI's did show brain changes in the 60+ subjects which were similar to the brains in much younger subjects. The scientists surmised that the elderly subjects progress was impeded by the aging process which naturally includes poorer eye-hand coordination and neural function. The important thing was that the brains of these 50 to 67 year old subjects showed changes similar to those of people much younger. It also showed some changes which were not seen in the younger subjects.
The study went further by testing all the subjects three months later. All of the elderly (and most of the younger ones) had lost the skill achieved three months earlier. This shows that, just like our muscles, our brains need continuous stimulation and repetition in order to keep our skills current. Paul Sanberg, professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of Southern Florida for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa, said, "Old brains continue to plastic and make changes."
This study has regenerated me!!! With all the crises I've been dealing with lately, I have noticed a lessening in my ability to remember, to problem solve, and to use logic. A lot has to do with stress. I will NOT let this stress get the best of me, so I have decided to do the following:
1. Get into the sunshine almost every day for at least ten minutes-and I will NOT use sunscreen as it doesn't allow my body to get what I need in Vitamin D.
2. Continue to play my BrainAge2 game-even the ones I don't enjoy (like counting blocks)
3. Brush my teeth with my left hand (since I am right handed)
4. Google "brain exercises" and use the resources there to give me new ways to exercise my brain...like lateral thinking
5. Increase my meditation time
6. Learn a new skill-I'm leaning toward stained glass art
7. Sign up for a class at the community college. Anyone 60+ can attend free, just paying the fee for the class. I'm deciding between Interior Design and Business Law I.
If anyone has any other ideas, I'd appreciate hearing them. By sharing our ideas, we can help one another...and everyone else out there who silently read this blog.