Preserve the reserve…

gymnast  How many of us have heard of Cognitive Reserve?  I hadn’t.  Even if I had, I’d have said, “what does it have to do with diet or fitness?  Turns out, quite a bit.

Cognitive Reserve is a term applied in my clinical neurology class, to sustainable brain function.  The theory is simple–the more physically & mentally active you are, the less likely you will fall victim to any of the dementia related diseases.  Possibly up to and including Alzheimer’s.

Yes, Alzheimer’s is more complex in presentation than shrinking cells.  It is characterized by a few hallmarks; one specifically is a protein called tau.  However, it does begin with a shrinkage in the temporal lobe, then progresses.  Short term memory loss is the initial symptom, while long-term memory is preserved.  Atrophy of the brain (decompensation, and yes more shrinkage) then takes place.

Dementia/dementia related diseases have accompanying risk factors.  While some theoretically we can do little about, like familial history, many we can.  These include hypertension, diabetes, and to a large extent, cardiovascular disease.

Cognitive Reserve can help with these too.  Its principle makes sense.  The more educated you become, the more you challenge yourself with learning new tasks, and the more physically active you are, as you age, the “reserve” actually “preserves” your brain function.

Think about it.  Chances are you will be exercising and choosing foods which will keep your body strong–the better informed you are.  New information you digest and assimilate, helps keep your mind focused.  A focused mind is agile, stays current, and will not go gently into the night.  A body engaged in consistent physical activity, in turn, strengthens all muscle cells; not just those in your pecs or abs.

Rolling out of bed early to exercise is an inherent challenge; to us all.  But the next time the thought of leaving that warmth an hour early leaves you cold, consider this highly educated, difficult to discern medical advice.  Move it or lose it.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need personalized guidance?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Easy does it…

pink dancer   Flexibility.  Most of us possess some, but would like more.  Women especially, usually desire the long, lean lines associated with nimble limbs.  However, even if you are an elite bodybuilder, flexibility is still key.  Why?  Many reasons–however I will stick to just one; for now.

RANGE OF MOTION

Range of motion (ROM) is something most of us would like to keep, as we advance in age.  If you have built your body to such an extent where ROM is compromised, then elongating and stretching isn’t just a good idea.  It is imperative.

Anytime ROM is stalled for whatever reason, you risk losing MORE.  Keeping what you have, while SLOWLY working towards an increase, will help not only in the gym, but with activities of daily living.  It also assists with balance and equilibrium, especially when confronted with out of the ordinary situations.  Examples include righting yourself to prevent falling; ability to skip, step, or hop over an object; or possibly knowing how to fall, when it cannot be avoided.  As you can see, ROM is quite useful.  Keeping it therefore, should be high on your “to do” list, and incorporated into every workout.

EASY DOES IT

If just getting started, working on taking your mobility to flexibility, or would like a challenge to your ROM, take a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6T1Ec1aQ7E

This video is about 20 minutes.  It is considered a full body workout.  Viewing it for the 1st time, may lead you to believe there is little going on.  Trying it for the 1st time, depending upon your fitness level, may leave you with a different impression.

I like this for a few reasons.  Initially, it is slow enough to really engage proper movement.  Second, unless you have severe back problems, most will find the exercises relatively easy to do.  While you may not possess the flexibility or “turn out” the participants have, you can modify.  As the instructor clearly states, “work within your own capabilities.”  And really, after consulting your medical professional, beginning any fitness routine means working within your own capabilities.

Yet isn’t it inspiring to know, what you once may have considered an improbability, can soon be your capability?

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com