7 Quotes From Neuroscientists That Will Revolutionize Brain And Mind Health, Fitness And Wellness

Interested in improving your attention, memory, thinking skills, ability to manage stressful situations? Good news: “Recent research in neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change in response to information and new activities – shows that brain cells and new pathways continue to develop throughout life…”, say mainstream newspapers like the New York Times, who are increasing their coverage on the growing movement of “brain training” games and technologies.

An article titled “Mind Over Matter, With a Machine’s Help” provides a great overview on how to combine cognitive therapy with fMRI (an advanced neuroimaging technique that enables movie-like visual feedback on what areas of the brain are getting activated). Another article, titled “Calisthenics for the Older Mind, on the Home Computer”, reviews a number of commercial software packages.

I have interviewed 10 neuroscientists and experts in cognitive and emotional training to better understand the research behind this field and the implications for our lives. Let me share with you some of my favorite quotes:

1) “Learning is physical. Learning means the modification, growth, and pruning of our neurons, connections-called synapses- and neuronal networks, through experience…we are cultivating our own neuronal networks.”- Dr. James Zull, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at Case Western University.

2) “Exercising our brains systematically ways is as important as exercising our bodies. In my experience, “Use it or lose it” should really be “Use it and get more of it”.- Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, neuropsychologist, clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine, and disciple of the great neuropsychologist Alexander Luria.

3) “Individuals who lead mentally stimulating lives, through education, occupation and leisure activities, have reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Studies suggest that they have 35-40% less risk of manifesting the disease”- Dr. Yaakov Stern, Division Leader of the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Sergievsky Center at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York.

4) “What research has shown is that cognition, or what we call thinking and performance, is really a set of skills that we can train systematically.” – Dr. Daniel Gopher, Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Human Factors Engineering at Technion Institute of Science.

5) “Elite performers are distinguished by the structuring of their learning process…You need to protect and optimize that practice, learning time… It is important to understand the role of emotions: they are not “bad”. They are very useful signals. It is important to become aware of them to avoid being engulfed by them, and learn how to manage them.” – Dr. Brett Steenbarger, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Medical University, and author of Enhancing Trader Performance.

6) “We have shown that working memory can be improved by training” – Dr. Torkel Klingberg, Professor at Karolinska Institute, and Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, part of the Stockholm Brain Institute.

7) “I don’t see that schools are applying the best knowledge of how minds work. Schools should be the best place for applied neuroscience, taking the latest advances in cognitive research and applying it to the job of educating minds.” – Dr. Arthur Lavin, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western School of Medicine, pediatrician in private practice.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting field of “brain fitness” and “brain exercise”, please keep tuned. Over the next weeks we will publish new interviews with:

– Dr. Judith S. Beck, Director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research, and author of The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person.

– Dr. Robert Sylwester, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Oregon. His most recent book is The Adolescent Brain: Reaching for Autonomy. The Education Press Association of America has given him two Distinguished Achievement Awards for his syntheses of cognitive science research.

Now you know: Nutrition, Physical Exercise and Stress Management are very important to your brain health and fitness, but you can also exercise and improve your “Mental Muscles”!

Health and Wellness Tips With A Long Fitness Life

Your health is your wealth. A healthy man is a wealthy man, literally. You may think of a tycoon who owns so much material wealth but their health troubles them. What is the point of all the material wealth if you cannot enjoy it? The money spent on doctors could have been channelled in other better avenues. Similarly, ever thought of how quick an employee gets replaced at work? You probably fell ill or a colleague passed on. The job vacancy goes up no sooner than the bad news leaves your mind.

Therefore, it is important that you take care of your health. It is with this in mind, we have noted down these health tips. There are simply recommendations. We are free to do more or less, as per what we desire.

1. Drink Water

This may sound clich̩ but it is very important. Top of the list in good health tips to practise is staying hydrated. The human body functions mainly on water. Take a person who is fasting, they can do away with food but they are allowed to take water. Water keeps you alert and keeps your body functional. At times, people have headaches simply because of dehydration. However, most people are quick to take paracetamol tablets. It is recommended that you take between 6 Р8 glasses of water every day. Stay hydrated and you definitely will remain rejuvenated.

2. Work out

Among daily health tips that we should not compromise is working out. Now, you don’t need to have a gym membership. Life is not as complicated. We all want to have the gym membership but what if you don’t? You can simply buy a skipping rope and put in the cardio at home. Get a comfortable pair of trainers and have a morning or evening run. If that’s too much, walk. If you own a pet, this can be ideal timing for you to bond.

3. Meditate

The career woman today has so much going on in her daily activities. She ought to be a wife at home, mother and deliver at work. It is very easy to lose yourself when so much is expected of you. Among the health tips for women would be embracing meditation. Most people say they don’t have time for such but if it is important, you find time for it. Take time alone and just get lost in your positive thoughts. Visualize or even take part in yoga. You take control of your emotional health particularly which is very important.

4. Sleep well

Sleep is a very debatable subject. Some people prescribe 8 hours of sleep while others prescribe 6 hours. In the same line of thought, you hear of very successful people who sleep for 4 hours and are very functional. Therefore, my recommendation is sleep well. It is not the quantity but quality of sleep that counts. If you sleep for 10 hours and it’s a noisy place, you won’t rest well. You can however sleep for 2 hours in a very serene environment and get up very energetic. It is the quality that counts, not the quantity.

A power nap in the afternoon is said to keep one youthful. I don’t know how true it is but there could be truth to it. What I know is that when you feel sluggish in the afternoon, a power nap goes a long way. There is no point of dragging through your tasks yet you can just sleep for ten minutes and be rejuvenated. However, do not be a serial afternoon sleeper and call it a power nap. That is outright laziness.

5. Eat well

Among the good health tips to practise on a daily is your diet. Having a balanced diet is very important. Your body will not lack anything. Similarly, with food it is the quality and not quantity that matters. You may eat so much but your body will only take up what it needs. That roast beef can be very tempting but your body will only take up the amount of protein needed. Just have the appropriate serving for you. What is not used up ends up being fat in your body.

6. Laugh more

As absurd as it sounds, this is the easiest good health tip you can utilise. We live in a world where everybody is focused on getting things done. People no longer savour the taste of good food. People can’t smell well brewed coffee. It is sad. People’s moods are at an all time low. To avoid this, just afford a good laugh each day. Find humour in the little things. If laughing is tedious, smile. You never know who you will smile at and they will have a great day just because of your smile.

7. Socialise

Perhaps you are wondering what this means? In the office setting, people don’t necessarily socialise. Everyone is doing what brought them there and are quick to head home as soon as they are done. Not many people would say they are close to their colleagues. We don’t know what challenges our colleagues may be facing at home. Similarly, people don’t know if you have challenges.

It is a great daily health habit to socialise especially with your loved ones. Make time to be with your family. This is perfect to get away from the hustle of making a living. Through family and loved ones, you get to appreciate what life has to offer. You count your blessings and just soak in each moment.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is an option each of us can make. It can be challenging however, since not many people appreciate healthy living. Or maybe they do, they are just not willing to put in the work. Therefore, be the agent of change. You can exemplify what healthy living is like. If you don’t practise any of the above daily healthy habits, there is hope. Just practise with one. Increase your water intake or just sleep a bit better. With time, you will reap the benefits.

70 Simple Daily Habits You Can Do For Health, Fitness & Wellness

SIMPLE DAILY HABITS FOR HEALTH, FITNESS AND WELLNESS (70 OF THEM!)

One of the biggest road blocks that people tell me they have is time. We are all living in a super busy, wound up, go all day kind of world. Getting in eating healthy and workouts and stress reduction can actually be a challenge when you’re trying to juggle work, family, relationships and more. (Believe me – I am right there with you!)

I was talking with one of our fitness retreat guests the other day and she wanted simple, broken down ideas of what she could do immediately when she returned home. Change seemed overwhelming for her and I know it is for many other people too. So I decided to create this easy list of 70 simple daily habits to give you ideas of what you can do right now to make small changes in your daily routine.

My goal was to have you pick one from any of the three categories below to focus on for that day. You can continue to practice the same habit or you can choose a different one each day. You can extend to a week if you’d prefer. Either way, the list was created to show you that there are many different little tweaks you can make to make a difference in your health and wellness. Focus on what you need most and what feels good for you!

70 HEALTHY HABITS TO PRACTICE

NUTRITION & EATING

Add in a new color food (yellow, red, green, purple, white, orange, blue)

Try a new food

Eat at least 1 serving of fruits and vegetables daily

Use portion control

Eat all unprocessed foods

Have a no sweets day

Drink water

“Healthify” an otherwise unhealthy meal

Have protein at each meal (can be animal or plant based)

Chew your food completely

Eat without distractions

Eat sitting down rather than standing up

Meal prep

Limit caffeine in the afternoon

No white/refined carbs

Look ahead the menu if going out to eat so you can decide which healthy item you’ll have

No artificial sweeteners

Add in healthy fats

Stop before you’re stuffed (you can have the rest later)

Take a multi

Get in your Omega 3s

Take quick snacks with you if you’ll be traveling or on the go

Seek out recipes from cookbooks or online blogs if you need inspiration

FITNESS & MOVEMENT

Make time for recovery (stretch, foam roll, dynamic flexibility)

Try a new workout

Change your current workout (tempo, sets, reps, weight, interval time, etc)

Take your workout outside

Track your progress so you know what’s working and what isn’t

If you’re not sure where to start – seek help from a professional so you can get going

Take a walk

Something is better than nothing (even 5 minutes)

Take advantage of vacation time and get in regular workouts

Try an outdoor activity instead of a conventional workout (go paddle boarding, cycling, hiking, cross country skiing)

If it causes you pain, don’t do it (injury pain)

If you have injuries – seek out a professional to fix the root of the issue

Challenge yourself a little more today than you did yesterday

Help a friend get to the gym if they’re lacking motivation

If you can’t get to the gym, do a workout at home (push ups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, plank, bridge, and the list goes on… )

Take the stairs

Park in the space furthest away from the building

Use a standing desk or appropriate area where you can stand

Get up every 15-30 minutes to walk around the office or the building

Break a sweat

Schedule your workout before work (if you never get to it after work)

Walk to lunch

Walk to work

Bike to work

If you’re traveling, scope out gyms or walking/running routes so you can still get in workouts

MIND BODY WELLNESS

Meditate

Start a gratitude journal

Write down something positive about yourself or your life each day

Name 3 wins from yesterday

Name 3 wins you want from today

Get outside and into the fresh air

Take a nap

Read 5 pages a day

Turn electronics off at least 2 hours before bed

Have a no phone or tv night

Go a full week without tv

Deep breathe

Go to a yoga class

Get a massage

Get a fascial

Relax by the pool or ocean

Create a vision board and look at it often

Identify which stressors need to be eliminated from your life and create a plan to do so

Plan a vacation (something to look forward to is always a good thing)

Get a mani/pedi with a friend

Diffuse essential oils in your home

Make time for a friend or family member

TO SUM IT UP

Change is hard. I think we can all agree on that. Small, simple steps can lead up to big change if you’re willing to be consistent. Start small. That’s why I created this list – so you can get an idea of the little things you can implement today or tomorrow that will enhance your health, fitness and wellness. Do what you can with where you’re at.