Train Your Brain: The Top 7 Things You Can Do 

I lost my mother 7 years ago. When she talked of aging, maintaining mobility, memory, and independence were her top concerns. Brain health. There are things you can do for brain health.  Many conditions affect brain health and quality of life, including weight gain, “The bigger the belly the smaller the brain.”-Mark Hyman, MD. Although this may seem harsh, making diet and exercise a priority is key to healthy living and healthy aging.

Every single tip below, if implemented to some degree, will drive you towards a healthy weight, a healthy brain. PowerFit for the Brain! 

1) Eat fresh foods. If it’s man-made, leave it. If God made it, eat it. Taking control of your diet may mean some meal prepping or planning ahead, but it’s so worth the time and effort. “Grab and go” can be a healthy habit with some planning. The heart and brain are affected by gut health. Food is medicine, so respect the power of diet.

2) Get enough sleep — Studies suggest that sleep helps to flush out potential toxins that build up in your central nervous system throughout the day. Nothing feels better than starting the day feeling good from a restful night of sleep. Flushing out toxins is good for your brain health.

3) Exercise regularly — The next time you are lacking motivation and you feel like the scale is not moving, consider your brain. Your brain still needs a workout to get the blood circulating. Circulate those healthy nutrients with a sweat session. Regular exercise creates neurons to fight dementia and improve memory. You could tell yourself, “I’m off to create some neurogenesis” when you are in need of motivation to go work out. 

4) Socialize — Stretch yourself out and make time to interact with family and friends. When you socialize, you are gaining new perspectives, experiences, and challenges.  Stretching your brain’s ability to organize ideas and relay them succinctly promotes brain health. Like to read? Join our book club here and get social! 

5) Supplements —  Certain nutrients support better memory, alertness, and creativity. Healthy amounts of nutrients slow down the development of major mental health conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin d, vitamin B12, coenzyme Q10 are some of the top supplements for brain health.  It is important to consult your doctor before starting any supplements. 

6) Be your own health advocate and do your own research. Perhaps your doctor is prescribing statins, for high cholesterol. There is a debate on whether statins might actually boost the risk of dementia. Doctors are busy, so have your questions ready. Even coming prepared, you will walk away with a ton of questions. No time to do your own research or not sure of all your options? Hire a Health Coach. Find a space that is unhurried and discuss all your options. Don’t be rushed. It’s your brain, your gut, your heart, your health. Your body is a temple. 

7) Stress management. Find a way to manage your stress that doesn’t involve alcohol, drugs, or medication. Activities such as yoga, meditation, and prayer can literally change your brain. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for positive capacities including concentration, happiness, creativity, and rational thinking. Meditation strengthens the communication between the prefrontal and other areas of the brain. Meditate 30 minutes a day .

“Recent studies from Harvard University found that long-term meditators have increased amounts of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, and the auditory and sensory cortex. Meditation also fosters beneficial brainwave patterns such as alpha, theta, and delta. Meditation not only increases your grey brain matter, but also reduces stress, fosters clear thinking, and increases our capacity for empathy.”
BrainFlow

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training clients at a gym in the San Diego area or on the Class It Up Virtual Studio, and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

Recovering from your workout

The 4 things you should be doing!

How you end a workout will determine how you start the next.

Recovery is a vital step to any workout regime. Let’s not confuse a de-load or taper down week with recovery. Not everyone needs a de-load or taper down week, but everyone needs the proper recovery steps to maximize their workouts.


How you treat your post-workout recovery will determine your energy, motivation, and performance for your next workout.


1) Hydrate!

Drink. Drink. Drink. Eat your water with cucumbers, grapes, and oranges.


How much water you need depends on how much you lost during the workout. This depends on conditions like temperature, humidity, indoors or outdoors, and starting the workout dehydrated. I love the drench of a hot yoga session or a HIIT workout because the sweat feels so gratifying. Just remember sweat is not always a good indication of a fluid loss. You lose hydration with just breathing out. Drink before, during, and after for best results. Your next workout depends on it. Dehydration can affect performance, motivation, and energy.

2) A recovery shake will do a body good!

A balanced meal of 2:1 carbs protein ratio works for many. Replenish to increase protein synthesis and restore glycogen stores. Your workout is not complete until you have consumed your recovery calories.

3)Get plenty of sleep!

Get forty winks mid-afternoon if you can squeeze it into your schedule. Call it a nap, siesta or a riposo. “A small study conducted by the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory followed a group of athletes over a three-week period. They did nothing different but increase their sleep and saw marked improvements in performance, including faster sprint times, longer endurance, lower heart rate, and an overall better workout” (Mahr, “How Sleep Affects Your Workout”). What if you can’t sleep? See tip #4.

4) Meditate daily with yoga.

Incorporating some yoga and mind bodywork is complementary to any regimented workout routine. It is good for the natural flexibility of the mind and body.


“Tight muscles that keep joints out of their natural and functional positions create accelerated wear and tear by inducing faulty movement patterns and joint motion” (Barlow et al., 2002; Borstad, 2006; Clark et al., 2008; Gross et al., 1993).


The right kind of yoga is perfect to help release all the fight or flight hormones racing around in your body, and quiet your monkey mind. Try our yoga class for sleep here.

Watch for this blog next month: Who needs recovery or a taper down week from training?