Ageless Grace – keeping your brain healthy
Neuroplasticity is our ability to change the form and function of our brain and central nervous system. The brain’s primary purpose, now known by neuroscientists and others, is to control movement of the body, says Denise Medved, creator of the Ageless Grace program. And more and more research is showing that “the best exercise for the brain is physical exercise” (Dr. Sarah McKay of The Neuroscience Academy). There are 5 primary functions of the brain — strategic planning, memory and recall, analytical thinking, creativity and imagination, and kinesthetic learning — all related specifically to movement.
The brain controls movement — movement affects the brain. There are certain types of movements, like those we did as a child when we are exploring, discovering, and figuring out how to physically perform an activity, that cause neurons (brain cells) to fire and begin to create neural pathways. The more we repeat the same activity, the “deeper” the neural pathways are “grooved” and we become accomplished at that activity and at some point are no longer “figuring it out”. Then it’s time for new physical activities, discovery, and exploration that involve the brain AND the body. That is what we do in Ageless Grace Brain Health – practise 21 tools that are designed to activate all 5 brain functions as well as specifically focusing on 21 physical skills needed for lifelong optimal function. We are “playing” at figuring out movements with our body and using spontaneity, imagery, spatial relationship, range of motion, etc. to do so. Just like when we were kids and thought we were “playing” — and were actually firing neurons and developing our brains!
Ideally, all 5 functions of the brain need to be stimulated each day to maintain and improve cognitive function — and to continue to generate neuroplasticity. Puzzles, crosswords and games can be helpful and are a form of learning, but only affect some areas of the brain. You become better and better the more you play them, but they just make you learn how to be better at puzzles and games — they don’t improve cognitive function overall. Learning can certainly be physical, but much more often it is primarily mental i.e. reading, listening, writing, studying or watching.
Although this may sound advanced the Ageless Grace program is surprisingly simple, spontaneous and playful. And as the saying goes, we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!