As we get older, there are some natural processes that happen within our bodies. I would like to explore/educate you on one today...cognitive decline.
Cognitive decline is the natural dwindle of the brain as we age. Without us doing anything about it, it just happens. However, there is much we can do to ensure that the decline doesn't happen rapidly and limit the extent.
As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, I have the privilege to take part in monthly educational webinars for continuing education. One that I chose during my certification period explained the connection between Exercise and Cognitive Stability, or Decline without the added benefits of physical/cognitive exchange.
I have learned that the more we put our brain up to the challenge to utilize it's wonderful capabilities, the less decline at a rapid rate we experience. This isn't to say that cognitive decline is preventable, but it can be slowed and therefore not lead to severe illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's.
Exercise has many benefits to the body. The shear act of movement from a sedentary tv watching, game playing, facebook scrolling, desk job working or lounging lifestyle creates blood flow to the brain that activates its usage. While reading is beneficial to increase your brain's capacity to retain information and store valuable insights, moving while thinking has shown increased overall cognitive retention.
Think about watching an exercise video and mimicking the instructor. While your body is experiencing the added benefits of movement, your brain doesn't have to think about it; you're simply mirroring the movements. Think about reading a book. Lying in a hammock on a beautiful spring morning reading a book presents learning, but more relaxation. Now think about something most of us do EVERYDAY; walking and looking at our phones. It takes a lot more brain power to do two things at once like thinking about what you're reading/typing AND moving. While I don't necessarily support this behavior, it can definitely lead to physical danger if missing objects lying around, it proves a point that moving and thinking have greater lasting impact than just doing one or the other.
Let me explain more clearly. As your trainer, I would teach you how to do a certain exercise (squat to lunge) by showing you how to do it and then do it with you to ensure understanding. Then, as I felt like you were mastering the technique and form, I would add the cognitive challenge to increase your brains capacity to utilize neurons and electrical impulses involved in left and right side thinking. I would tell you to alternate between a squat and a side lunge and then a squat and back lunge with different legs. I would continue to add the cognitive challenge to the physical challenge to increase your brain power ( for example adding a colored ball that you would have to bounce and catch before you went to performing the squat lunge sequence on the other side).
All of us want to look younger and be younger, but more importantly we can feel younger. We can participate in physical/cognitive activities that provide the challenge to our brain that will help us feel younger. Most of us resign to a lifestyle that has been outlined for us by surrounding examples of family or social influences. (Ex: book-smart, street-smart) While that can prove to be beneficial for some of us, most of us have to educate ourselves on the impact of daily movement and thinking to increase our mental lifespan. When "doing physical and cognitive exercises simultaneously might interact to induce larger functional benefits than the two individually combined".
If you're searching for how to effectively combine your cognitive abilities with your physical movement, let me help you. I have studied and am certified to teach you what will increase your physical and mental strength.
Sign up for my initial Personal Training consultation TODAY and we'll work together to help you feel younger!