Exercise Can Help Improve  Senior Brain Health

Senior brain health will involve a lot more than just this one page of this critical topic.

There will also be pages on the best supplements for brain health, activities to keep it healthy, as well as foods that help to feed it.  

However, the most important of these reasons is that as we age we are all fully aware of the different challenges and potential conditions that we may face.

During our lifetimes we have all seen friends, immediate family, as well as relatives develop some very challenging brain related conditions including but not limited to:

  • Dementia
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s
  • MCI-Memory Cognitive Impairment

To fully understand some of these conditions, this page entitled Senior Brain Health is going to try to explain how our brains work as well as how it changes over time.

Like all of the pages, I would welcome any insights you may have as well as experiences you can share.

Senior Brain Health

In trying to understand was to improve senior brain health let’s take a look at some key areas of the brain and they will include the following as referenced by the Mayo Clinic

  • The Frontal Lobes
  • The Partial lobes
  • The Occipital lobes
  • The Temporal Lobes

The reason I am taking this approach is the lay the table for following pages that will be directly linked to this page on how to “feed” your brain with the correct diet, supplements, as well as activities.

The Frontal lobes of your brain controls several key parts of everyday life that includes thinking, any type of planning you do, problem solving as well as organization.

However, it also supports movement in your body and short term memory.

Short term memory is a real challenge to all of us as we age, but some more than others.

The Partial lobes of your brain controls what is referred to as “sensory information”.

This includes tasting all types of food, the sense of touch, as well as our internal temperature control and how we perceive temperature.

The Occipital Lobes in your brain help to process the images you see from your eyes and then links that information with images that are stored in your memory.

And finally, the Temporal Lobes of your brain control the rest of your senses that include taste, smell as well as sound. However it also plays a major role in storing memory.

Our nerve cells throughput our body have two main branches; Dendrites and Axons.

Dendrites receive incoming messages from your brain and axons carry or send outgoing messages.    

However, this is what I find really fascinating and will be again linked later in connecting and related pages; how all this allows for communications to each and every part of our bodies.

Communication

It also helps control how we sleep. Take a minute to reflect on that.

If you are having issues as you age with any of these functions could it be as simple as “feeding your brain” the correct food and other forms of nutrition?

The neurons of your brain are interconnected to each other and are extremely efficient and react in breathtaking speed if they are at full strength and this is where Senior brain health is laying some ground work and food for thought.

If something is interrupting this process how you can change it.

Senior brain health also looks at how your brain changes over time.

Five Friends Enjoying Time TogetherFive Friends Enjoying Time Together

Changes Over Time

If you were able to stop and take an inventory of your brain every six months, you would probably be totally shocked.

The reason for this is simple; it is constantly changing.

Not only are brain cells appearing and disappearing, they also become much stronger, and in some cases much weaker.

The actual size of your brain can also change in size as time goes by.

Wow—take a minute to reflect on that.

As we age the first thing that would come to your mind it that it is too late to do anything effective to help your brain,

However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is never too late to help feed and nourish your brain.

What is also very interesting according to Gary Small, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior is the following.

Good heart health has a huge impact on how our brains function.

Exercise, nutrition, as well as controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol levels have a direct impact on your brain.

Stages of Development

In early childhood and until about 12 years of age, our brains are rapidly growing and developing literally millions of neurons.

In fact, this is where the learning capacity begins.

In the adolescent stages, 13-19, your brain is refining itself and paring down the cells but is strengthening the connections.

At this stage it is also rapidly producing “myelin” which is a protective sheath that surrounds and protects the cells and axons.

This is paramount to senior brain health and will be covered more in depth.

In the adult years, 20-39 your brain has now become even more interconnected and has created a very complex system of checks and balances.

It is also making even more and stronger “myelin”.

In our middle age year, 40-64, even though “myelin” has now peaked, you can still strengthen it.

And then finally, in 65 years and beyond, everything begins to slip and shrink somewhat. But the fight is certainly not over; unless you give up and let it be over.

References

The Mayo Clinic: How You Brain Works http://www.mayoclinic.org/brain/SLS-20077047

The Brain Research Center  http://www.bri.ucla.edu/people/gary-w-small-md

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