Im at the tail end of the baby boomers and recognize that one of the fears of getting older is developing a neurological disorder (dementia, Parkinsons, etc.). Everyone is seeking to avoid that type of diagnosis.
So why do we, as a culture, focus mainly on strengthening the body while ignoring the nervous system, which is where such things start? Dont get me wrong, Im all about strength and resiliency, but I believe we tend to focus on the things we understand and ignore those we dont.
Research on the brain and neurology has exploded in the last five years. And while weve been hearing about mind/body/spirit for quite some time, the reality is that in our culture, we separate the brain from the body. I believe this will change within the next 10 years. So in the meantime, I work with clients to learn the interconnectedness and the science behind the brains and the bodys systems.
While many of us are familiar with brain games, thanks to Lumosity and Sudoku (activities designed to keep our brains active and agile) there is a disconnect when it comes to engaging both the brain and body together. Without keeping a precise eye on the long-term goal, we could randomly aim at targets we havent quite deciphered.
There is a continual loop between the brain and the body. Activating the brain with good movement pays huge dividends. And this flows both ways. Good sensory perception pays off with better movement.
Nervous system, brain processes
The brain receives input from the periphery (joints, tissue).
It then evaluates and processes information.
Finally, the brain creates efferent movement (signals go from the brain back to the periphery), thus completing the loop.
There is a danger when we emphasize just one of these three processes. In other words, if we focus just on movement, or just on the input, we miss a piece of the puzzle. The loop and the processes feed on each other and pass information along. In order to increase our adaptive capacity (increasing our resiliency), a truly healthy approach to living, we should be addressing both the brain and the body and the information loop that is ever present .
But wait, theres more
Your neurological system gets information from three different but inter-related systems:
Exteroceptive: Visual, auditory, olfactory, somatic (movement) and taste.
Proprioceptive: Movement, our awareness of movement, strength, heat, cold, pressure, etc.
Interoceptive: Stimuli arising within the body, especially from internal organs heart rate, blood pressure, vestibular/balance, perspiration, etc.
Looking at any one system in isolation doesnt give us a clear picture or road map to good health, but addressing them together will.
All of this can be confusing and complicated. However, oversimplification of such a complex system doesnt serve anyone which is why I have a problem with systems or plans. With that said, if you can wrap your head around the fact that brains and bodies change with a high degree of certainty and accuracy based on input, you are halfway there. Therefore movement shouldnt be separated from brain work and vice versa. It all matters. The brain needs movement to learn and movement impacts our neurology.
Your posture is reflexive
I often talk to clients about how finding our deficits is a win. We all have movement and brain deficiencies. The gold comes in finding what were not so good at so we can work on developing that skill set. For instance, knowing that my posture is reflexive and that training my vision and balance can change my posture and pain faster and more easily than Ive thought has long term positive implications.
Bottom line, find out what you dont know about your neurological system and its effects on your body. When you do, you will be able to up-regulate areas of your brain and body that might not be working well for whatever reason. That way, you wont keep chasing an unattainable fitness goal, youll be creating lasting brain-body connections for the long term.
Marty Larson is the owner and founder of Uncommon Age, a Stillwater fitness and movement studio dedicated to helping people reach their full potential. Learn more at uncommonage.com.
- Brain Games - Fun Games That Train Your Mind - November 11th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Brain Games - The Game - Based on the Emmy ... - October 17th, 2018
- Brain Games: Test Your Memory and Attention Span - September 14th, 2018
- Brain Games (National Geographic) - Wikipedia - July 14th, 2018
- Brain Games | Free Brain Games to Play Online - July 11th, 2018
- CNN | All Free Brain Games - September 6th, 2017
- The Next Step in Treating Gait and Walking Functions in Older Adults - Markets Insider - August 31st, 2017
- Competition heats up with 'Senior Brain Games' - WBBJ-TV - August 26th, 2017
- Flinn Foundation bioscience winners range from bug zappers to brain games - East Valley Tribune - August 25th, 2017
- Five of the Best Brain Game apps - Blast - August 23rd, 2017
- This Is The Only Type Of Brain Training That Works, According To Science - Fast Company - August 21st, 2017
- FSU institute contributes to Global Council on Brain Health recommendations - Florida State News - August 19th, 2017
- Online Applications Could Make Traditional Resumes, Cover Letters A Thing Of The Past - CBS New York - August 16th, 2017
- Are Prescription Video Games The Next Frontier In Medicine? - BOSS Magazine - August 11th, 2017
- Yoga May Boost Aging Brains - Carlisle Sentinel - August 10th, 2017
- 2017 Tennessee Senior Brain Games call for teams: time to compete! - The Tomahawk - August 5th, 2017
- 2017 Tennessee Senior Brain Games call for teams: Time to compete! - Winchester Herald Chronicle - August 4th, 2017
- How to keep your brain sharp in older age - Medical Xpress - August 4th, 2017
- 49ers' love of game versus reality of research - SFGate - August 4th, 2017
- 40 things you might not know about Tom Brady - Boston.com - August 3rd, 2017
- Report challenges claims of cognitive benefits of online brain ... - CBS News - July 31st, 2017
- 49ers' Joe Staley, Brian Hoyer, Kyle Juszczyk reflect on latest CTE study - ESPN (blog) - July 31st, 2017
- Brain Trauma Scientists Turn Their Attention to Soccer - WIRED - July 31st, 2017
- Brain-training games don't really train brains, a new study suggests - The Sydney Morning Herald - July 13th, 2017
- New study takes a look at impact of brain games on patients with dementia - WTNH Connecticut News (press release) - July 11th, 2017
- Brain Games Don't Work - Fortune - July 11th, 2017
- Data SheetTuesday, July 11, 2017 - Fortune - July 11th, 2017
- Brain games popular at the Leeton library - The Irrigator - June 29th, 2017
- 3 steps that may boost brain health in old age - LaSalle News Tribune - June 26th, 2017
- Study Finds Good Reason to Keep Having Sex Over 50 - Newser - June 25th, 2017
- Library link - So Md News (subscription) - June 23rd, 2017
- Senior Center News: June 22 - The Wilton Bulletin - June 23rd, 2017
- Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study - Toronto Sun - June 23rd, 2017
- How to Keep your Brain Sharp - HuffPost - June 21st, 2017
- Mobile gaming sessions down 10 percent year-over-year, but ... - TechCrunch - June 21st, 2017
- Doing puzzles and playing brain games won't make you smarter - Star2.com - June 20th, 2017
- Brain Power - BQ Live - June 19th, 2017
- You Asked: How Can I Use More of My Brain? - TIME - June 16th, 2017
- Summer fun good for the brain - Chicago Parent - June 7th, 2017
- Chicago Fights Summer 'Brain Drain' With Superhero Science - Chicago Tonight | WTTW - June 7th, 2017
- Local kids enjoy Pelicans junior camp - Opelousas Daily World - June 1st, 2017
- The Dreaded Summer Slide and How to Tackle It - Education World - June 1st, 2017
- Mukwonago Community Library news: June 4, 2017 - Lake Country Now - May 31st, 2017
- No, playing brain games won't make you smarter they're just a bit ... - South China Morning Post - May 28th, 2017
- Brain Games - Wikipedia - May 27th, 2017
- From bug zappers to brain games: Meet some Flinn Foundation bioscience winners - Cronkite News - May 25th, 2017
- Ready for the Brain Games championship round - Times-Mail (subscription) - May 25th, 2017
- BRAIN GAMES: 5 local teams headed to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals - Press & Sun-Bulletin - May 23rd, 2017
- Talk in Albany examines dementia, importance of brain exercises - East Bay Times - May 23rd, 2017
- Games reward brains, vigor - The Advocate - May 18th, 2017
- This video game could literally train our brains to resist symptoms of disease - Mic - May 18th, 2017
- Brain Games XVI under way - Times-Mail (subscription) - May 17th, 2017
- Brain Games And Breakthroughs In Call Center Automation - Forbes - May 17th, 2017
- No evidence that playing 'brain games' make you smarter - Digital Journal - May 6th, 2017
- The Rockwood Files - A weekend of brain games - Cedar County Republican (subscription) - May 6th, 2017
- The Disappointing Reason Those Brain-Training Apps Might Not Work - SheKnows.com - April 27th, 2017
- Cognitive Benefits of Exercise Outshine Brain-Training Games - Psychology Today (blog) - April 26th, 2017
- Brain Training Games Are a Waste of Time - Men's Journal - April 25th, 2017
- Brain Games: The Science of Coaching - Sports On Earth - April 24th, 2017
- Do brain games make you smarter, or just better at brain games? - Uncommon Wisdom Daily - April 22nd, 2017
- Just when you thought brain games made you smarter - The Siasat Daily - April 22nd, 2017
- No Gain in Brain Games - Anti Aging News - April 21st, 2017
- Brain Games May Not Boost Your Productivity After all - Indiatimes ... - Indiatimes.com - April 21st, 2017
- Just when you thought brain games made you smarter - Business Standard - April 21st, 2017
- Brain games may not make you smarter: Study - Mathrubhumi English - April 20th, 2017
- Matt Del Vecchio: Keeping fit physically and mentally - The Suburban Newspaper - April 19th, 2017
- What my 'Entrepreneur' self would tell my 'Corporate' self - Huffington Post - April 18th, 2017
- Actually, brain games don't make you smarter: study - New York Daily News - April 18th, 2017
- You're middle-aged this is the perfect time to work on staying healthy - Washington Post - April 15th, 2017
- Brain Games - Play Yourself Smarter - Agame.com - April 13th, 2017
- 'Same-old same-old' ages the brain. Don't let it - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - April 9th, 2017
- Is Successful Brain Training Fake News?: Neurologists Parse Out the Messaging for Patients - LWW Journals - April 6th, 2017
- CNN 10 - April 5, 2017 - CNN - April 5th, 2017
- Brain Games: Event raises funds for LVEP - Martinsburg Journal - April 3rd, 2017
- Upcoming events at the Jenks Center - Wicked Local Winchester - March 30th, 2017
- Video Games Can Help Ease Pain for People with MS - Healthline - March 26th, 2017
- Senior Scene: From the Office: Take steps now to protect future brain health - Oneonta Daily Star - March 25th, 2017
- Facebook Live with Nat Geo's Brain Games host Jason Silva at 4PM ET - Blastr - March 24th, 2017
- Health happenings, from brain-health to ADHD parents group - Greensboro News & Record - March 20th, 2017
- Interview: Jason Silva talks Origins and why we need science shows more than ever - Monsters and Critics.com - March 20th, 2017