Not sure where you are in the Senior Continuum, but I am 61, which I believe qualifies me, and I want to nurture my neurons.
I began to notice some worrisome changes in my ability to recall words awhile back.
I feel a great deal of fear when I contemplate not being able to discern danger in the world around me, or perhaps being dependent on the good will and intentions of others, who may not want to extend that much of themselves 24/7, and I also know that I cannot stop the inexorable changes associated with aging.
So I want to nurture my neurons, and keep them at their best.
Luckily for me, recent research has given us knowledge about brain fitness for seniors that we did not have even ten years ago.
The human brain has two very fundamental capacities which can be nourished and encouraged, called neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Neurogenesis is the birth of new brain cells, daily, which apparently migrate to the hippocampus where memory is laid down. So perhaps memory loss is not inevitable.
It appears that those new neurons do not just plop themselves into an already existing neuronal circuit, like replacements. In order to keep them, I must involve my brain in novel learning experiences. In other words, I must challenge them, or the brain gets rid of them.
It is also very important to take care of my brain through nutrition, sleep, stress management, and physical exercise, which are key components for maximizing neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, along with novel learning experiences.
Challenges involve any novel learning experience, learning a new language, an instrument, or even a computerized brain fitness program, like the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, which has a lot of research with Seniors, older than Boomers, using it.
If the learning is not novel, the brain does not keep the new neurons, and there goes your memory.
Neuroplasticity is a term describing what neurons do constantly, which is seek new connections by reaching out to nearby neurons. If the connections prove beneficial, the brain will keep them.
So picture your brain working ceaselessly to provide you with more computing power, waving its dendrites and axons around.
Neuroplasticity can also be nurtered with novel learning experiences, which do not use crystallized intelligence (intelligence based on previous experience).
So give me that novel learning experience to maximize my neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. I want to have the world’s biggest hippocampus.
Michael S. Logan is a brain fitness expert, a counselor, a student of Chi Gong, and licensed one on one HeartMath provider. I enjoy the spiritual, the mythological, and psychological, and I am a late life father to Shane, 10, and Hannah Marie, 4, whose brains are so amazing. http://www.askmikethecounselor2.com