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Mental Exercise and AD Awareness

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November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. In honor of those we wish to see regain their mental independence – and to enhance our own brain function – we have pulled some of our favorite tips to help you get started on a brain health journey. The following is an excerpt from our Brain Longevity Therapy Training Mental Exercise module on arpf.com. Enjoy!

Brain Aerobics:

In order for an activity to be considered brain aerobics, three conditions must be met: 1) It needs to engage attention; 2) It must break a routine action in an unexpected, nontrivial way; 3) It must involve more than one of the senses.  

A good, oft-cited example of a brain aerobics activity is completing a crossword puzzle. Does it engage attention? Certainly. Sure, you could multitask and do other things while completing the puzzle– dragging out the time it would take to finish. But in order to actually solve each clue, you must be fully engaged and attend to that task. Does it break a routine action or activity in an unexpected, nontrivial way? You bet. Regular, daily must-dos like household chores rarely involve quizzing yourself on trivia and using your mind to solve a riddle. Does it involve more than one of the senses? Again, yes. You engage your brain and use your senses of sight and touch to complete the crossword. Of course, other activities engage more of the senses at one time.

As more and more research has revealed the memory-boosting benefits of crossword puzzles and other brainteasers, a number of companies have taken advantage of these discoveries, cranking out expensive computer games marketed for keeping the mind sharp. While they may have some benefit, ARPF doesn’t believe a computer game is necessary for a great brain workout. In fact, the majority of brain aerobics activities are absolutely free.

Take a Walk Down Awareness Lane:

One great brain aerobics activity combines both mental and physical exercise for serious benefits. ARPF calls it awareness walking, and it’s exactly as it sounds: walking while being fully aware of yourself and your surroundings. To challenge your mind along with your body, say to yourself— internally or out loud —things like “I see the trees are green, the flowers are red, the sky is blue, the boy is wearing a white shirt,” and so on. You can engage all of your senses while on an awareness walk. In addition to noting what you see, feel the bark of a tree or texture of a leaf, literally stop and smell the roses, listen for different bird calls; if you’re out in your garden or on a hike in a location with edible plants that are safe to consume, taste a fresh berry right off the bush.  

You can also view this activity as walking meditation. As a thought enters your mind, let it simply pass through, without judgment, so that you can continue to observe and experience your surroundings. And as you walk, scan your body to connect with yourself and tune in. Simply notice, again without judgment, if you feel tired, sore, energetic, etc.  

Stimulating the mind and senses while engaging in physical exercise is an easy and exciting way to create new brain cells. What’s more, not only are you improving your mind, but you’re also helping your heart, soaking up the sun’s rays for that all-important vitamin D, and experiencing the stress-reducing power of nature.

Discover many more tips and ideas to exercise your brain and improve your memory in ARPF’s brochure “The Power of Brain Aerobics.”

If you would like more information on keeping your brain healthy and sharp, all while living a lifestyle that is highly successful in preventing Alzheimer’s, please join our BLTT program at arpf.com. It is offered to professionals to enhance their career– but ANYONE can become a Brain Longevity Specialist. Everyone can use this information for their own good and for the sake of their loved ones. We invite you to take Alzheimer’s Awareness to the next level. 

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