Traumatic Brain Injury Month
With March being Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month we thought it would be pertinent to share what happens to the brain after a trauma in order to gain an understanding of what trauma victims are living through.
The idea of walking down the stairs, going to concerts, driving at night, are all normal activities we take for granted. Our vestibular system helps manage sensory inputs during these activities; thinkof mapping out the depth of the stairs, managing booming music, and interpreting bright lights at night. Our brains are well equipped to take these inputs and make them manageable to process so we don’t even consciously think about them. For those who have been through a traumatic brain injury the story isn’t the same.
There are two major concepts to understand why our brain gets “injured” or more accurately; compromised, after a traumatic incident.
- Your brain has the consistency of soft butter, while the inside of your skull – what your brain sits in – contains various ridges. When your head takes on an impact the brain slides and crashes into these unforgiving ridges and creates lesions on the cortex of the brain. These areas of lesions now have disrupted signaling of neurons, essentially creating chaos in the brains complex communication system.
- Your brain is made up of your Cortex (superficial and deep layers), Brain Stem, Cerebellum, and pituitary stalk. Your Cortex sits on top of your Brain Stem like a flower would sit on top of its stalk. When our head takes on an impact or we have “whiplash” our Cortex gets thrusted into rotation putting a major stress on the connecting fibers. This ultimately creates damage to the brain stem and disrupts the communicationfrom the brain stem and pituitary stalk to the Cortex.
- The Cortex is for processing information, body awareness, forming speech, critical thinking, processing emotions, etc.
- The brain stem fires our cranial nerves that control: taste, sight, sensation, motor control, heart rate, ect
- The Cerebellum manages memory neurons, but its biggest job is to coordinate and adjust movements of our limbs and eyes.
This background information is important to take into consideration when understanding what a TBI victim is going through. Our Central Nervous system works like a computer; signals of information are constantly flying around, being interpreted, and sending information in another direction. When trauma strikes the wiring in our computer chips get damaged and don’t allow for proper communication – transfer of information.
If we respect these concepts it becomes clear why someone with a TBI may struggle to walk down the stairs. Our cortex, which helps us understand the body in space, may not be able to communicate messages properly to our brain stem -that controls our eyes – as well as our cerebellum, which will help us take calculated steps with our lower limbs.
Here at REP we understand and support the journey to recovery for those who have suffered a TBI. There are holistic ways to rehabilitate the brain. To Learn more please visit our Neurotherapy page.
REP owner, Geoff Rose, breaks down sleep cycles, brain waves, and the activity in our brain as we sleep on the Accomplished Brain podcast. Rose has been asked to co-host the podcast with Andrew Amigo, the founder of the Accomplished Brain.
Sleep should be a cornerstone in living a healthy lifestyle. We all know that sleep is our bodies opportunity to rest and recover, but for our brain sleep is vital for operating at a high level. Though, it’s not because our brain powers down. Our brain is firing at a high, but rythmic level. Sleep, especially our deep sleep stages, is our brain’s opportunity to store and organize information; memories, learned information, conversations, ect.
To learn more please visit REP Athletics youtube channel:
BuilD 4 Life
Build for life is designed to be a comprehensive social experience for students in Westchester. While the concept/goal is to build social skills and confidence, the process in how we can bring that out in today’s youth is the key. We have incorporated our backgrounds in order to reach different personalities with different needs. We use movement, body awareness, and team-building exercises to make our students feel comfortable with their peers, but most importantly with themselves.
The heart of who we are, as individuals, is based on our personality, beliefs, temperament, and spirituality. Those traits bring out our ability to articulate our feelings and express our emotion to family and friends. These components are harbored and molded by our brain. Whether it’s a compassionate thought, an attempt to read body language, or a reaction to a fly-ball at a game; all of these scenarios are processed in our brain. In order to enhance life skills it is imperative to understand how the brain processes different scenarios.
Our Methodology is based off the concept that the brain needs 3 things: activation, oxygen, and nutrition. We give the body physical and coordination challenges, which triggers brain activation and a demand for oxygen. We work in an interactive group setting activating different pathways in the brain in order to reinforce the ability to comprehend and react to social situations. Finally, we educate our students on social manners, lifestyle habits, and most importantly; nutrition. Empowering our students to understand healthy eating habits will increase mood stability, calm anxious thoughts, and increase their confidence.
Amen Clinic Certified!!!!
Geoff Rose, owner of REP Athletics, has officially been certified by the Amen Clinic! In one year’s time, Rose completed the certification that focuses on neurological disorders ranging from Traumatic Brain Injury, to Alzheimer’s, to Schizophrenia.
The Amen Clinic uses nuclear imaging to gain a concrete understanding of how the brain is functioning. It allows us to see what parts of the brain are firing high and what parts of the brain do not have enough activation. With over 30 years of imaging, they have the largest database in the country and have used that to master pathologies in reference to specific disorders. They have put together comprehensive protocols relating to diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes to create synergy in the brain.
Dr. Amen’s course deciphers general diagnoses such as ADD, dementia, and depression into specific subsets. Essentially, decoding those umbrella terms as not every case is the same, therefore the treatment for those subsets should be different. For example, there are actually 7 different types of ADD that all have their own pathologies. These types can reveal themselves in an array of ways, making it even more important to take a comprehensive approach in treatment protocols.
Rose is proud to be a part of the Amen Clinic’s system and is another step is his continued education. He hopes to help those struggling with Neurologicaldisorders with a holistic approach.
For more information or to set up an appointment please email us firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID Safe Training
At REP we are taking COVID seriously, but we also take our clients’ mental and physical well-being serious. We are utilizing the space in a way that ensures our clients’ safety while maintaining functionality. We are keeping our windows open and running fans to ensure a rapid rate of circulation out of the building. Take a look to see what it looks like!
We continue to run the heat to ensure a 65 degree air temperature on the gym floor. It’s a little colder than normal, but the fresh air feels great! We know that COVID is a stressful time for everyone, but that makes it even more important to move your body and give your brain stimulation outside of a desk and computer screen.
We continue to run out door group and one on one sessions in local parks as well. Bundle up and grab a friend, we will be there!
Preventing “Tech Neck”
October is here!, As the weather changes we must brace ourselves for what could be many more hours of virtual work and schooling. We face the uncertainty of COVID-19 that, paired with cold weather, will certainly keep us on our devices for long hours throughout the day. Longer durations on our devices promotes slouching, forward head lean, and gives feedback to the brain that these positions are “normal”. But, there is a challenging yet simple exercise that we can all do to reverse this process; ELDOA.
ELDOA is a French acronym that stands for: Longitudinal Osteoarticular Decoaptation of the Spine, or, simply put, creating space in between joints. This technique can help reverse the effects of gravity, athletic wear and tear, as well as poor posture. While looking at the exercise you may think it’s “yoga”, but when you understand the intention, it is a completely different sensation that can push your limits. Geoff Rose, of REP Athletics, has been working with back pain, scoliosis, and postural issues for 9 years. ELDOA is his number one tool.
How Does it work?
ELDOA postural exercises use an important connective tissue called “fascia” to create tension in different parts of the body to build separation at specific joints in the body. This creates a chain reaction that pulls moisture, nutrients, and oxygen to the joint, making the area healthier. While holding these positions the muscles that keep us erect become stronger and longer. It also promotes a feedback system to our brain reinforcing appropriate neck and back posture.The beauty of ELDOA is that it requires zero equipment and, after mastering it with a certified professional, like Rose, these exercises can be performed anywhere!
Who Should use the ELDOA?
ELDOA is vital for students who are now spending their days in school on a computer, then adding phone and video game time after class. While children are still growing, it is crucial for them to develop body awareness, something screen time can be very detrimental to. ELDOA is also a great tool for anyone suffering from lower back or neck pain.
While the technique might not have the household name that Yoga or Pilates has, it’s garnering serious recognition in both rehabilitation and sports worlds. It’s now a feature of sixteen professional sports teams’ (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) strength and rehab programs, including Super Bowl champions; Kansas City Chiefs. Titleist Performance also features it as a part of their certifications program, as ELDOA is considered a powerful tool for those looking to increase rotational mobility on their swing.
REP Athletics is proud to be the only facility in Westchester offering ELDOA. For more information please visit www.repathleticsco.com or to set up an appointment please email us at email@example.com
September is National Recovery month; a month to embrace and support thosegoing through recovery and spreading awareness of prevention of addiction. Addiction can be a deep hole to dig out of as it not only effects your mind and body, but those around you. It’s important not to play “the blame game”, but instead have an understanding of how addiction raises it’s ugly head and what we can do about it.
What Addiction Stems From
Environmental and Social factors
Those who live in neighborhoods with multiple alcohol establishments, have schools systems that drugs run though, or even households that keep prescription drugs out in the open may lead to desensitization on usage and may be more prone to take part on a regular basis. Then there is the component of having family members who drink heavily or use drugs; those who are exposed to that environment a young age are at risk of falling into a similar pattern. Lastly, if your work requires you to “wine and dine” or there is heavy usage at neighborhood or family gatherings it can become a social pressure.
Biological and Psychological factors:
While there is still a long way to go in the study of genetics and addiction it is very clear that there is a hereditary correlation to drug abuse. According to a study done by Laboratory of Neurogenetics and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; “gene discovery can reveal underlying mechanisms by which chronic drug exposure promotes stable changes in gene expression, brain structure and function, and, ultimately, behavior”. Those changes can be passed down, making that generation more prone to abusing drugs and alcohol. There is also a personality component. For example; if someone is anxious or is compulsive their brain is firing at a rapid rate. Alcohol helps temporarily calm the brain down, in some ways it can be a way of self medicating. It’s just not a healthy way to do it.
What we should know for our family and friends
The Amen clinic has broken down addictions into 6 different types that relate back to personality traits:
- Compulsive addict – Person who can’t stop themselves, high firing brain, usually can not shift thoughts fluidly.
- Impulsive addict – Person who has poor impulse control, common with those those suffering from ADD, ADHD
- Impulsive/Compulsive addict – Person with a high firing brain, but poor decision making skills.
- Sad addicts – Person with mood disorders, pessimistic, usually has sleep and appetite disorders
- Anxious addicts – Person who is constantly worries and struggles to shift thoughts.
- Temporal Lobe addicts – Person who is emotional, sensitive, and can act delusional.
If we can create correlations with personality traits treatment and prevention will have a much higher chance to succeed. For example; a compulsive addict needs to be able to slow their brain down. This can be achieved be managing stress, finding a hobby, exercising and increasing a calming chemical in the brain; Serotonin. This can be done with increasing complex carbs in their diet as well as cardiovascular exercise. On the other hand and Impulsive addict needs a boosting chemical in the brain: Dopamine! This comes from increasing protein levels and from meditating. Geoff Rose spoke with Matt Tizol, a yoga teacher who offers classes to recovering alcoholics, on meditation in his practice:
“A yoga practice is essentially about linking breath with movement. Yoga is less about being flexible physically and more about being flexible mentally and emotionally. Alcoholism, while it is certainly an issue of physical control, it is so much more about learning to handle the mental obsession to drink and the emotion that takes us there. Yoga plays an integral part in my recovery from alcoholism. Both on and off of the mat yoga teaches me to breathe. Learning to channel the idea that there is nothing I can’t “flow” through. Pranayama, or breath work, teaches yogis to center the mind and calm the spirit through the use of breath. Asana practice, or the physical poses, become a moving meditation. Paired together, they grant me and other recovering yogis the ability to stay emotionally centered and grounded for an hour or so on the mat and even more so for the other 23 hours of the day.”
The medical field is making great strides in understanding how to better treat those with addiction. It’s important to take on the mindset of; “How do we better prevent addiction?”. REP continues to support practitioner’s like Matt who are helping those find emotional balance through practice opposed to drugs and alcohol. For more information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s the perfect time to create your own personalized refreshing smoothie recipe. But, what are the best ingredients to include in a smoothie to get the maximum benefits out of it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered…
Throughout July, REP Athletics, partnered with Burton Fitness, ran a comprehensive kid’s mini training camp. The took place for three hours on weekdays, allowing campers to work on strength and conditioning, participate in fun team-building exercises, and build their confidence. The camp took place outdoors and obeyed Covid-19 restrictions by having group sizes limited to five kids and social distancing enforced.
men’s Health Month
A perspective from owner, Geoff Rose, on preventative health.
As Men’s Health Month comes to a close, I am on the verge of finishing the Amen Clinic’s Brain Health certification. This nationwide clinic has the largest database of brain scans in the country in order to work with neurological disorders stemming from traumatic brain injury to mental health disorders. While taking this course, I can’t help but think what my own health will be when I’m older. As medicine has made major strides over the years it still seems that men struggle much more than women to take a proactive approach to their health. According to a Texas Tech health study men make half of the physician visits that women do.
For me, I see a tale of two stories of health in men in my family. My grandfather, Sidney, just turned 100 this month!. While Sydney’s hearing isn’t the best, he is mobile, happy, and healthy. Though, my grandfather on my mom’s side, Ken, sadly passed away 4 years ago at the age of 86. While they had totally different path’s in life, they both had a huge impact on me in different ways.
Sidney was raised in Minot, North Dakota. He grew tough skin as an adolescent growing up during the Great Depression, not to mention dealing with the blistering cold winters. He was a strong athlete who wasn’t so keen on staying in North Dakota after high school. As one who didn’t believe in limitations, he took a trip out to California after his senior year to try out for college basketball teams with the hopes of landing a scholarship. While he didn’t reach his goal for basketball, he did eventually leave North Dakota as he was accepted into the Naval Academy. After graduating, he boarded a submarine and helped sink 13 Japanese ships during the war. When his service was completed, he started a family and became a successful salesman. With his wit and determination he founded a family business that fulfilled the needs of major retail stores around the country. Sydney always believed he could achieve anything he wanted if he put his mind to it. He has been a huge inspiration for me to pursue my passions and to never be deterred.
Kenneth was raised by his grandparents in Fishkill, NY. He became an automotive enthusiast as a way to keep himself out of trouble. He loved to work on cars and boats as he was gifted with incredible hands and an industrious mind. He landed a job at the state-of-the-art IBM lab in Poughkeepsie as a technician. He was a part of a team that developed new computer parts to help IBM push the technological boundaries. As his career was blooming, he was thrown a curve ball. At the age of 32 he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis; a disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. He battled through for another 30 years at IBM in order to provide for his loving wife and daughter. At the age of 62 he was diagnosed with dementia and was forced to retire. As a young man, I watched him slowly lose his ability to walk and function around the house. Eventually, he needed to enter a nursing home to be cared for properly. Though his body and brain were slowly failing him, he still had this outpouring of energy when I would see him, but it was very focused. It was all for my grandmother. He couldn’t bear to leave her side; he outlived every neurologist’s expectations. He taught me that love and family are the most powerful things we have.
I’ve been in the health industry for 10 years, I am constantly studying to better my understanding of neurological functions, biomechanics, and physiology. In my line of work I continue to run into physical congenital issues like scoliosis, hip dysplasia or sports related injuries, but rarely do I have someone asking me to prevent “what could be” neurological issues like Alzheimers or Parkinson’s or diseases like cancer or MS. While there is a lot of talk about gene testing for probable disease markers, there are more studies starting to focus on; obesity, child obesity, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, alcohol abuse, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol as risk factors for neurological and visceral diseases. With Type 1 Diabetes being the exception, all of these factors are 100% preventable. It comes down to healthy lifestyle and preventive measures. We should take note that health insurance companies are giving reimbursements for gym memberships and are interested in data from our fitness trackers. They all know that these habits can lead to healthier lives. It should be noted, that according the Amen clinic, that exercise decreases the APEO e4 —gene associated with increased chances of Alzhiemer’s- impression.
As a 32 year old, my family health history sits on polar opposites. I certainly can’t wait in fear to see if I have MS or early onset dementia. I know very well that I can put myself in a position to be in control of such diseases with yearly check ups, blood tests, health screenings, ect.I plan to engage in consistent action to ensure I don’t fall behind. Though, as I finish the Amen Clinic certification there is a common theme when it comes to treating Dementia, anxiety, vascular disease; diet and exercise. They are a part of every single treatment plan the Amen clinic has. According to Johns Hopkins medicine 80% of your immune system lives in your gut, the better your diet, the stronger your immune system. For exercise, it helps relieve stress, burns toxins, and demands oxygen to your brain. These are “no brainers” that can help stave off visceral and neurological dysfunction, ultimately giving yourself a better chance to have a healthy, high quality of life.
My grandfathers are my heroes; they taught me how to be fearless, value family, and most importantly, how to love. I plan on being healthy enough to do the same for my family.
mental Health Awareness Month
Health Month is important to build an understanding of not only what peers or family members are going through, but potentially taking a look your own habits and lifestyle to see how you can be helping yourself. REP has put together a quick run down of understanding what our thoughts and emotions come from and how we can make changes in our habits to lighten the “mental load”.
How we react to emotions can define our relationships personally and professionally. With today’s world being so fast paced and a large demand for instant gratification we rarely have time to reflect on our emotions. This can limit our ability empathize with others as well as take a deep look at ourselves. Over 40 Million Americans suffer from either depression or anxiety. It is important for those who are suffering that they cannot blame themselves and there are holistic, simple ways to help themselves.
It is important to understand where and how your emotions come about: your nervous system, which is powered by your brain.
Depression: Predominantly a Frontal lobe issue (low activity) that dictates our emotions, judgement, reasoning, and empathy.
Anxiety: Predominantly an issue with our Basal Ganglia (a system deep in our brain that helps us work through and shift thoughts). Those with Anxiety tend stay with a thought for an extended period of time apposed to shifting away from it. Something to remember: every time we have a thought we produce a chemical reaction in the brain that could be good or bad. So how do we start producing good chemicals?
Write it out!
- Get your thoughts, concerns, and worries on paper.
- Ask yourself: Can it be true? Can I prove that it’s true? If you can’t prove that it’s true, then why worry about it?
- Create potential solutions and rid your self of those thoughts. Take a deep breathe and take a look at the other side of the equation. There will be a light that can guide you to a solution.
Giving the Brain what it needs
The Brain needs activation and Oxygen. We have all heard it a thousand times: EXERCISE! But Why? When we exercise our body demands Oxygen, the more we demand the more we can get to the brain, the more that gets to the brain, the healthier it becomes :). Based on the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience study of Serotonin levels (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, behavior, and sleep) cardiovascular training is the most efficient way to create Serotonin. Exercise also helps us release Endorphins in our body, also known as the “happy hormone”. It should also be noted that playing sports takes a massive amount of coordination. This fires up the Pre-frontal Cortex, located in the Frontal Lobe. The more activation we get here the more we wake up the Frontal Lobe.
It is clinically proven that meditation gets blood to the Frontal Lobe and slowly powers down the other lobes. This can help create more synergy in the Brain and allow for proper Frontal Lobe function. An important aspect of meditation is rhythmic breathing. This activates the vagal nerve, which has a direct correlation to the Basal ganglia, allowing your brain to shift from thought to thought more efficiently. Find a yoga teacher who specializes in mediation or download an application on your phone to get started.
Nutrition for the Brain
What to keep out: Foods that will create inflammation: Fried foods, high levels of sugar, processed foods, and in some cases; gluten and dairy. The less inflammation in the body the more efficient the blood flow to the brain.
What to add to the diet: Complex carbs: sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, etc. Complex carbs promote high levels of Serotonin an important chemical that helps calm the brain down.
- Fish oil: known to block Cortisol; the stress hormone.
- Rhodiola: a plant that supports proper function to the Pre-Frontal Cortex.
- Ashwandha: a plant that reduces cortisol levels and increase blood flow to the Frontal Lobe.
Virtual Training Program
he intention of each movement. The library also contains a stretching routine for you to pair with your workout or use on its own for a “recovery” day. The library will be updated once a month. Access to this library is $15 per month.
If you prefer tailored workouts, REP is will happily build you a customized workout program. This includes 4 specialized workouts a month, with the intention that we
Lastly, the trainers at REP are doing half hour live Zoom and FaceTime sessions to create as much of a realistic session as we can during this time. Although it is not quite the same as being in person in the gym, it still serves as a more intimate, personal session for clients to get a workout in. FaceTime/Zoom session cost $45 per half hour.
Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on our lifestyles, the economy, and our stress levels. While a lot of our stress can be coming from being cramped up at home or the stock market tanking it really boils down to us “not having control”. We thrive in an environment wherewe dictate our own social plans, how we get around, and we just don’t have that right now.
The virus is tricky as can be picked up so easily; it can last on surfaces for days, it can be dormant in our system for up to two weeks without us knowing, not to mention, it can be contracted through air particles.While this is a worldwide pandemic that we can’t seem to slow down, we do have to look at what we can control in this case. We can control our sleeping habits, we can control our thought process, we can still exercise, we can still talk to our friends -thanks technology-, and though it’s a pain to go to the grocery store; we can still control what we eat. At the end of the day all of these things can helpus manage our immune system. While the thought of contracting Coronavirus is scary, we have to ensure we are as prepared as possible if we do happen to catch it. It’s time to boost your immune system so you can limit the potential effects of the virus. See below for ways we can boost our immune system.
**If you don’t read any further please take this home with you: 80% of our immune system lives in our gut. So the foods we decide to eat will have a major impact on the integrity of our immune system****
Ways to improve our immune system:
Diet – As mentioned above the quality of our digestive system will dictate how well our immune system can function. Our digestive tract contains “immune cells” that are activated by gut flora (good bacteria), these cells attack pathogens coming into the tract from the food we eat and ultimately stop the pathogens from entering our bloodstream. Gut flora flourishes when we eat vegetables and fruits as well as foods that have active cultures such as yogurt, kimchi, and Kombucha. The flora can become overwhelmed when we consume fried foods, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods.
Sleep – Getting a great night of sleep is helpful for a number reasons, but mainly from the production of hormones that increase our growth, energy levels, tissue repair, regulate our appetite, and regulate our blood sugar. Sleep also helps our body produce T- Cells. T- Cells are designed to fight cells that have been infected with a virus or pathogen. Two of the hormones that effect our energy levels, Adrenaline and Noradrenaline, are low during sleep. This comes into play as the lower these hormones the “stickier” the T-Cells are in order to attach to the infected cell.
Exercise – Vigorous exercise elevates our body temperature which leads us to sweat out toxins and can prevent bacteria growing in the body. As we know, exercises increases our blood circulation, which will increase the flow of white blood cells (antibodies) that fight pathogens.
Increase of Vitamin D, C, and Zinc –
– Vitamin D increases the effectiveness and response rate of white blood cells How can you get it? SUNLIGHT!!!. Food sources include salmon, tuna, egg yolks, cheese, and whole milk.
– Vitamin C helps T cells and Phagocytes; immune cells that engulf bacteria, do their job. How can you get it? Food sources such as oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, strawberries, and broccoli.
– Zinc fires up T- Cell activity and helps modulate the immune system so it doesn’t spiral out of control. How can you get it? Food sources such as red meat and poultry, salmon, eggs, nuts, seeds, and – believe it or not – dark chocolate.
Using supplements to boost vitamin D, C and zinc levels is fine as well, just make sure you take them with a “fatty” meal, like eggs or fish, to increase absorption.
Mindset – Stress does not help our immune system at all! High stress levels lead to a high production of Corticosteroid, which in turn, lower the amount of: B cells – produce anti-bodies and T- Cells, as mentioned before, that fight infected cells. Stress is certainly a major topic right now as the world has been affected by COVID-19. Ways to combat your stress: Breathing exercises, meditation, physical exercise, and sleep.
REP’s First Speed and Agility Clinic!
Last Month’s speed and agility clinic was an absolute blast! REP hosted 16 athletes who were tested in their vertical leap, agility, and linear speed. Each Athlete received a report card with their original scores, then received coaching in sprint mechanics, hip strengthening, and ground force training. The final part of the clinic was getting re-tested in each category to see if their scores improved. Each athlete improved in at least 2 categories!!!
REP wants to thank AJ Burton and Tom O’Neill for bring their expertise in performance training to this clinic. We will offer this clinic again in the Spring, stay tuned!
TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR
The heart of who we are, as individuals, is based on our personality, beliefs, temperament, and spirituality. Those traits bring out our ability to articulate our feelings and express our emotion to family, friends, and co-workers. These components are harbored and molded by our brain.
“Brain Aging” refers to the “wear and tear” and speed of your brain. We are born with 100 billion neurons (cells) in our brain. Neurons provide vital connections via synapses (electrical bridges) to keep information running smoothly. As we go through life we lose and rebuild these neurons, but as we get to the age of 40 the brain cannot keep up the re-building process and begins to decline.
Our habits and lifestyle can affect the age our brain. Brain Aging is caused by weakened Cerebral pathways and/or damaged neural material (think scar tissue) that destroy synapses. Both of these eventually slow down the transfer of information in the brain. This can lead to disorders such as Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. What makes us so resilient as humans is the fact that we can keep this decline at bay if we take pride in our brain.
The largest “mass” of the brain that is divided into four lobes. These lobes are responsible for processing and responding to different types of sensory information.
A series of neurons (cells) that connect to send to a signal from one part of the brain to the other. Think of the electrical wiring in your home.
A series of neurons (cells) that connect to send to a signal from the brain to the spinal cord. This will allow us to complete and adjust physical movements. Think of an outlet, a plug, and a lamp. The electricity will move from the outlet, through the plug, to allow the lamp to turn on.
Area involved in long term memory and language processing B. Parietal Lobe: known as our “thought factory”, determines brain “speed” and “age” C. Frontal Lobe: involved in decision making, judgment, and emotions.
Organ that moves blood throughout the body’s circulatory system.
It all starts with understanding if you could be at high risk for early brain aging. Health issues such as cardiovascular disease, untreated depression or ADD, excess intake of alcohol, traumatic brain injury, and diabetes greatly increase your risk of early brain aging.
Next, you understand what foods can support a healthy brain.
- Omega 3’s, garlic, ginger, rosemary, berries, green tea, pomegranate are important to Brain health as they decrease inflammation. The less inflammation in the body, the better the blood flow to the brain.
- Oregano, cloves, thyme, berries, artichoke, and cocoa can fight off Free Radicals. Free radicals are toxins that can destroy the power source to cells, Mitochondria, essentially leading to cell death. The antioxidants in these foods will inhibit the free radicals before they can enforce any damage to cells.
Keeping a healthy blood sugar level is paramount to healthy gut and brain function. As sugar enters the body, your pancreas fires up insulin to transport the glucose (sugar) to your cells for energy. If the demand for insulin becomes extremely high the cell becomes resistant to insulin, the insulin builds up outside of the cell, like scar tissue, hindering the current of electricity (cell communication).
We know exercise burns calories and releases endorphins (happy hormones!), but it also helps strengthen our brain. When we do physical exercise our Cerebro-spinal pathway fires in order to coordinate and adjust our movements in order to complete the task. The more coordination you can challenge yourself with; ping pong, darts, or basketball, the more “strength” you can build in the brain. Exercise also protects the brain against free radicals, improves brain metabolism of cholesterol, improves oxygen levels to brain, and increases tone in blood vessels in the brain (this is vital to long term blood flow).
Lastly, find a hobby or an activity that you can fall in love with. This will give your brain the opportunity to shift away from the stresses and pressures we all face in life. Today’s world is fast and tough. Do something for yourself like hiking, joining a book club, or volunteering at a pet shelter where you can be in your element and meet like-minded people.
Taking pride in your brain can put anyone on the path to a long, happy life. It will give you the opportunity to embark on exciting journeys, a fulfilling career, and build strong personal relationships.