To have a healthy brain throughout life, it needs fuel and activation. Learn how to stimulate the different parts of your brain for life-long brain health.
Shane here from MATRIX Personalized Fitness. In today's video, we're going to talk about brain health and give you some simple things that you can do to keep your brain healthy throughout your entire life.
Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Dementia are becoming all too common in today's society. There is good news, however. Research is showing that things like exercise, cardiovascular health, proper nutrition, as well as positive social interactions can be protective against these diseases. Now, to understand why that is and how you can apply that to your life, there's a couple things you need to know about the brain. The brain itself requires two things, fuel, and activation.
When we think about fuel for the brain, we're talking about oxygen and glucose. This is probably why cardiovascular health is so important, because you can get better oxygen to the brain. Simple things that you can do to help that is to work on breathing drills. I've done a number of videos about that. There's some links to them attached in the description as well as on the cards above, you're welcome to go and check those out.
-Breathing: Up Rev the Nervous System (Video)
-Better Movement for Better Breathing (Video)
-Stop Wasting Your Breath (Blog)
-Breathing: A Form of Mind Control (Blog)
Now, let's talk about activation. When it comes to activation, your brain craves novelty. We all love to get into our routines that make our lives easier, so we expend less energy. But that's exactly what they do. They make us expend less energy and they activate our brain less. So, when you're trying to stimulate your brain, you want novelty. So let's go through the brain, piece by piece, and try to understand exactly what we can do to create novel inputs to keep the brain stimulated and happy. The brain itself has different lobes in the cortex. Five of them that we're going to talk about today, specifically.
The first one is the occipital lobe. It's right here in the back of the head and it's where vision is processed. Now, we get tons of vision stimulus in. But when was the last time that you actually sat down and looked at things in great detail? Looking at the grains of sand at the beach, or the different colors throughout a flower. I highly recommend making this part of your daily practice, just paying attention to the details, whether it's in the words that you're reading, or the nature around you. This can create new, novel stimulus for the brain and help keep the occipital lobe working properly.
Moving forward through the brain, the next level that we're going to talk about is the temporal lobe. Now, the temporal lobe is where all of your memories are hidden. So, that kind of makes sense that ties in with dementia and Alzheimer's. To help stimulate this area, there's a number of things you can do. But one of the things is actually using your sense of smell. When it comes to diseases like Parkinson's, one of the first signs of that disease on-setting is a loss of smell. To help train yourself in this, you can get simple little vials of essential oils that come in all different scents. You can just spend some time smelling and identifying those scents. It's a great stimulus and stuff that we don't often do. And again, you're paying attention. So, your brain is really creating novelty in that area.
The next little bit I want to talk about is the insular lobe. Now, the insula lobe is kind of what tells you all about yourself. So, to stimulate this area of the body, one great way is through meditation. Now, you don't have to sit down cross legged and try to achieve zen. It's simply about paying attention to what's going on in your body. An easy practice here is to do a body scan. Notice your breathing. See if you can actually feel the pulsation of your heart rate. And pay attention to how your joints and your muscles are feeling.
Another lobe of the brain is called the parietal lobe. The parietal lobe, tells us about where we are in space. And it's also where sensation lives. I just recently did a video about sensation, so you can check that out as well. The link is in the card above. But in addition, a great way to get new and novel sensations to your body is to go for massage. And that's something we offer here at MATRIX.
The last part of the brain of interest to talk about today is the frontal lobe. Now, the frontal lobe is what really makes us human. It's where we have our executive decision making, our planning and all that kind of stuff. So, this is where the exercise part of the positive research we're seeing with regards to degenerative diseases comes into play. When we're playing games, we're being social, we're interacting. When we're exercising, we're creating new sensations in the body. Plus, we're using our frontal lobe to drive those different and unique movements. And this is also why sometimes it can be better to be doing new activities, or activities that require you to move in different directions like different ball sports, rather than running which again becomes repetitive and falls back into that more routine versus novelty.
So, in recapping all this information, if you want to keep your brain healthy, there's some super simple things you can do. Pay attention to details. Look very closely at different things throughout the day, and get some enjoyment from that. Secondly, work on your sense of smell, train it, use different scents. Things you're not used to. Enjoy the smells of cooking. Third, try some type of meditation or body scan to bring awareness into your body. Fourth, is try new sensory stimulus. You can use a towel, a pinwheel, or maybe have somebody else work on you like getting massage. And lastly, is to try new things. Play new games. Interact with people. Play sports. Challenge your body in different ways. If you do all this throughout your life experiencing novelty, you'll keep your brain stimulated and ideally keep it healthy for the long run.
I hope you have enjoyed this. If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to reach out. And obviously, this is exactly what we do here in our personal training studio. We get you moving, we use the brain, and we offer massage as well. So give us a call if you'd like to check that out.