A Fitness Plan for the Brain — Part II of II


2014-0218Sandi_headshot-199x299All text that appears under the heading “Article Part II Excerpt” was written by Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, who is the author of Make Your Brain Smarter, founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health, and a distinguished professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. The article, which is titled “Why You Need to Put Your Brain on a Fitness Plan, Too” was written for the Center of Brain Health. Had Wendy not shared the article with me, I probably would not have seen it.

Article Part II Excerpt

Tip 2. Translate Your World — Move away from surface-level, uninspired thinking and [avoid] predictable thoughts by pushing past the obvious and really think.  For example, when asked what a movie was about, most people would give a play-by-play of events that occurred. To boost brainpower, instead think of the major themes of the film and relate it to personal situations in your own life and how they apply. Think back on one of your favorite movies or books from the past year and generate five to eight different take-home messages you can glean from it.

Tip 3. Stop Multi-tasking — We are inundated with more and more tasks every day. Relentless simultaneous input and output fatigues the brain and reduces productivity and efficiency. You may think that by doing two or three things at once – like participating in a conference call while writing a couple of emails –  you are moving faster through your day. But nothing could be further from the truth. Our to-do lists keep getting longer while performance and accuracy slip. So, when working on higher-order thinking tasks that matter, allow your focus to be completely uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes at a time and then gradually increase the length of those intervals.

Tip 4. Move Your Feet — Recently published research shows that aerobic exercise stimulates positive brain change and memory gains faster than we previously thought possible. Adding regular aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate to your routine at least three times a week for an hour won’t just help with physical health, it will also increase brain blood flow to key memory centers in the brain and improve our memory for facts. When you combine complex thinking with aerobic exercise, brain health benefits are amplified.

Until recently, we thought that cognitive decline was an inevitable part of getting old, but the good news is that’s officially not the case. Toxic habits and a life on autopilot are key culprits for unnecessary cognitive decline. Our research has shown that healthy adults who use these strategies can regain lost cognitive performance, improve blood flow in the brain, speed up communication between its regions and expand its structural connections. And you can actually evoke some of these positive changes in a matter of hours. Adopting this new, healthier way of thinking translates into real-life benefits that support our ability to make decisions, think critically, reason and plan. In other words, shaping your brain by engaging in the right kind of daily mental exercise has the power to reverse brain aging and actually make you smarter. So boost your brainpower! You have nothing to lose.

Click here to view the full article.

Call to Action

In the comment box below this post, please share the ways in which you:

  • avoid predictable thinking
  • avoid multi-tasking
  • commit to aerobic exercising


Thanks to Wendy for sharing the article with me; Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, author of “Make Your Brain Smarter,” founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth, and a Distinguished University Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas; Yahoo! Shine for publishing the article; and all the other people and organization that, directly and indirectly, made it possible for me to include the pictures and text I used in this post.

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