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SENIOR ADVOCATE

By Liza Horvath

 

Keep Your Brain Fit

 

When boomers or seniors say they want to live a long life it usually comes with a caveat, “As long as I am healthy and still have my wits about me.” Staying healthy and retaining mental acuity just may be achieved by doing the same thing – exercising.

 

The Archives of Internal Medicine recently published a study that found that when women - ages 70 to 80 - who were already experiencing symptoms of mild cognitive impairment began to weight train, they developed better focus and decision making skills than those who only did balance and toning exercises. The weight lifters did only one to two hours of training per week and showed improvement within six months.

 

As summer comes to an end, many of us will become more sedentary and spend more time indoors. If you really want to stay healthy – both physically and mentally – consider integrating some new moves into your routine. Weight training at home can be as easy as buying some hand weights and keeping them next to the couch to squeeze in some reps during commercial breaks. Take it easy when you start but aim for at least 30 minutes, twice a week and build from there.

 

Exercising even a few minutes at a time can make a big difference according to leading public health advocate, Charles Plakin, PhD, MPH. Researchers at Oregon State University concluded that short bouts of exercise can be just as beneficial as longer bouts. The research also showed that everyday activities like sweeping or gardening contribute to overall health.

 

Lifting weights and moving are a good way to stay mentally fit – but not the only way. A free on-line application found at www.lumosity.com, developed by a group of neuroscientists, allows you to keep your memory and attention muscles fit by playing customized “brain games.” AARP also has free on-line games where you can adjust the game to your skill level and see how you rate among other players – see www.aarp.org.

 

Also, what is on your plate? The benefits of proper eating include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness, higher energy, faster recuperation times and a more healthy and positive outlook on life. Most adults need at least 2 to 3 cups each of vegetables and fruits, whole grains for fiber and about 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. Remember, when it comes to food less is more – an active woman can stay very healthy on about 1800 calories a day and an active man about 2200 - 2400.

 

If you are laid up and not able to shop and prepare nutritious meals, consider the services provided by Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula. For over three decades Meals on Wheels has delivered meals to the homebound. While a donation is suggested, it is not required. More information can be obtained by calling 375-4454 or online at www.mowmp.org.

 

As the days become shorter and cooler try upping your workout and nutrition program – and who knows, by spring you could feel – and think - like a new person!

 

Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com

 


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