Aging doesn’t need to mean cognitive decline. Follow along as I share with you some of my anti-aging tips from my Doctor Lynn’s Anti-Aging Yoga Dance online class.
Got brain Fog? Cognitive Health = Anti-Aging
Without healthy cognitive functioning the quality of life deteriorates. We need a clear mind to enhance our memory, keep us focused, and allow us to go about our everyday life. Perhaps you’ve been told to do crossword puzzles, but studies show that if we only do crossword puzzles every day the only thing we will be good at regarding our cognitive functioning is doing crossword puzzles. What the mind really needs is challenge, movement, and a healthy diet.
Yoga and dance provide both movement and challenge and have been shown to be very effective when it comes to cognitive health. Researchers compared the change in the hippocampus volume in healthy adults over 60 who participated in dance and those who didn’t. What they found was an increase in the volume of the hippocampus for those who danced. Why is the hippocampus important? It plays a key role in memory and cognitive processing.
Exercise is probably the easiest, safest, and cheapest form of anti-aging remedies. When we dance, we need to follow a set of steps, be present, and do a lot of cross body movements and all of this challenge the brain to work harder while improving memory.
Yoga, among other benefits, improves our breathing. Oxygen is a nutrient that is essential for brain activity. A study showed that by increasing the uptake of oxygen to the brain verbal activity improved and that deep long breaths can influence cognitive functioning. Here is a look at a short yoga dance routine combining both to improve cognitive functioning.
A healthy diet = A healing diet
A healthy diet is also important. A study in the Journal of Gerontology found that older people who ate a healthy well-balanced diet performed better on everyday activities than those who didn’t eat a well-balanced diet.
Poor memory can be attributed to a number of things including poor circulation, which effects our cognitive functioning. The B vitamins, especially choline and B6 are important for circulations and maintaining memory. Choline is needed for the transport and metabolism of fat. It is also used by the body to make acetylcholine a neurotransmitter in the brain. Foods that are good sources of choline are legumes, muscle, organ meats, and egg yolks.
Estrogen helps to keeps the mind sharp. As we age the hormones in our body begin to shift. This is one of the reasons we experience brain fog as we age. We can enhance the uptake of estrogen by eating a healthy diet. Isoflavones found in foods such as soybeans and white cabbage have antioxidant and phytoestrogen properties. In white cabbage researchers have found an isoflavone called equol which when metabolized improves skin quality, as well as cognitive functioning. So, when given the choice between chips and slaw order the slaw!
Anti-aging should be natural and healthy. It doesn’t take a lot of work to dance and eat a healthy diet. But life is full of stress and when we get stressed, we tend to ignore things like diet and exercise. Excess stress contributes to advanced aging, so it behooves us to manage it with dance, yoga, and diet. Stress is not going to disappear. In fact, it is ingrained in us with the fight or flight system. But managing our lifestyle with a healthy approach can both reduce stress and is the easiest and cheapest way to anti-age.
Memory allows us to remember people’s faces, names, places we’ve been, and good times we’ve had. Of all the things that we cherish the most, especially as we age, it is our memories. They keep us connected to those we love and remind us of all the times we laughed and shared. Anti-aging is as much about keeping the mind sharp and creating new memories, as well as retaining old ones, as it is about keeping the body strong.
When it comes to our cognitive functioning, clarity is needed so the mind can discern which is the right path to walk in life. It then takes integrity and trusting yourself to walk it. it. Keep dancing and eating healthy because there is no substituted for a heathy body, mind, and soul.
Catch my final blog in this series, “If your foundation is weak your house will collapse.”
If you would like to try a free yoga dance class email me for an invite. [email protected]
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Dr. Anderson holds a Ph.D. in Natural Health and an N.D. with an emphasis in Aromatherapy, herbology, and nutrition. She is a Certified Yoga Therapist and an adjunct Professor at LMU. She is a published author, has appeared on numerous radio shows and TV networks.