Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Hazel Hooper's Health Diary

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Hazel Hooper's Health Diary

Article excerpt

Dear Diary,

A wise old philosopher (Phil from next door) once stated, "use it or lose it," and, "can you clean up after your dog please?" (That's another issue though). Phil was referring to our brains. If we don't exercise our bodies we can expect physical decline and that's particularly important with regards to our brain. If we don't use it we can expect a decline in our ability to think. Frank could be the guest speaker at a Cognitive Decline Symposium but he probably wouldn't remember to go.

Brain fitness refers to our ability to meet the cognitive (thinking) demands of life. We develop it through experience - formal education, mental engagement, healthy life-style etc. The science of neuroplasticity (note to self: return Shirley's Tupperware) says that our brains are constantly changing in response to our experiences. Our neurons and the connections between them can alter. Our brains are therefore not, 'hard wired,' but can be, 'rewired,' even into old age. There is considerable research evidence supporting this, for example; cases of people with brain injury being rehabilitated through experiential programs and them recovering abilities through making new neural connections to different areas in the brain. Other areas in the brain can take over functioning from damaged areas.

Stimulating or exercising our brains can strengthen/improve cells, cell numbers and connections, resulting in improved brain activity. Different activities use different areas of the brain and www.sharpbrain.com (http://www.sharpbrain.com) recommends, 'cross training,' the brain by doing activities that utilise many areas of the brain, for example, learning a new language or trying to convince Frank that they're just not wearing Safari Suits anymore.

Stress can have a negative impact on brain functioning eg. …

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