Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Routines: The Killer of Brain Fitness

I love this blog post by Mark Nutting. I deal with clients thathave nothing but in and day out. Their lives are run by their iPhone and routine after routine. It was only fitting when I read Mark's post that I feature it on my blog as a guest post. So here goes:

Routine can be a great thing, or it can cause your brain to deteriorate.

In fitness, creating a routine of exercising regularly is great, but, if that exercise routine is… well… routine (same thing over and over again) results stop and benefits diminish. Your exercise program needs to change regularly to promote continued progress.

The same is true with brain fitness. If you do the same thing day in and day out, have the same experiences everyday with little or no variation, you set yourself up for a loss in memory capacity and a decline in cognitiveabilities. Do you know anyone where this is the case. As parents and loved ones get older (us too, for that matter) are they falling into a rut of experiences? Do they talk about and tell the same stories to the same people over and over? Are their physical challenges the same day to day?

What if we could help to jump start their lives again? Get them up and out of their “comfort zone” for a new physical and mental challenge on a regular basis?
In Brain Fitness, according to Lawrence Katz and Manning Rubin, our activities should do one or more of the following:

1. Involve one or more senses in a new context.
2. Involve your full attention.
3. Break your routine in a significant way.

I’ve come up with a couple of ideas to point you in the right direction for ideas of your own:
Learn to Dance - Step class - learn Martial Arts (classes in which you have to learn and remember changing physical patterns)

Take a cooking class (even better if you can learn a language at the same time. i.e. Italian)
Take a walking tour/lecture at a museum
Etc… the idea, in essence, is to layer the learning, physical and mental.

So what can you come up with? I’d love to hear your ideas. Now go out and share a new brain fitness experience with others. Give them something new to talk and think about and get them wanting more.


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