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Easy Exercises to Help Improve Your Memory

A healthy lifestyle can support your brain health. You don’t have to succumb to memory lapses, brain fog or lack of focus.  Our brain’s hippocampus, the memory center, regenerates throughout our lifetime provided we give it the right tools.  The foods we eat (and the foods we avoid) play an important role in our memory.  Some of the healthy foods to include are colorful vegetables and healthy fats, along with avoiding sugar and processed carbohydrates.  Proper sleep allows our brain to process our memories and regular exercise improves hormone production and blood flow to our brain.  Practicing mindfulness (the opposite of multitasking) reduces stress and allows our brain to focus. If you find yourself trying to complete several tasks at once, mindfully bring your attention back to the task at hand.

Giving your brain new experiences will keep it healthier. As physical exercise is important to the muscles in our body, mental exercise is important to keep our brain strong. We must continually challenge our brain with new, surprising information.   One way to challenge your brain is with brain games using online websites or apps. One example is a program called Brain HQ which has many different exercises designed to improve brain function.

In his book, Stones of Remembrance, Daniel Amen, MD, (a psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist), shares a list of easy exercises to help prevent memory loss and sharpen your mind:

  • Play language games like Scrabble, Boggle, and Scattergories, or work crossword puzzles and word-search puzzles.
  • Play strategy games like chess, backgammon, dominoes, bridge, or mahjong.
  • Play math games like Sudoku or KenKen.
  • Memorize poetry, Scripture passages, and famous historical dates.
  • Set aside fifteen minutes in your day to learn something new.
  • Take a class (a foreign language, cooking, or an art course, for example.) Challenge your brain to learn new things.
  • Limit your screen time. Unless you are watching something educational, TV is usually a “no-brain” activity. In fact, studies show that adults who watch two or more hours of TV a day have a significantly higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t.
  • Try using your non-dominant hand to write, eat or brush your teeth.
  • Expose your brain to new experiences, scents, sights, and people by traveling somewhere you’ve never been before.
  • Hang around with smart, interesting people who challenge your ideas and way of thinking.
  • Listen to classical music, which research suggests can actually lower your blood pressure and improve your memory and cognitive function.

 

– Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, Board Certified Internal Medicine, Board Certified Lifestyle Medicine, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.  Our Internal Medicine Practice is an integrated medical practice with a focus on Lifestyle Medicine to prevent chronic disease and promote health and wellness. Dr. Geni Abraham, Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462.   Phone:  (561) 432-8935

Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow on Facebook

Three Simple Ways to Jump Start Your “New You” Resolution Today

“I’ll start tomorrow” is a popular phrase for so many of us when we know we need to make a positive change.  It seems easier to let procrastination have its way rather than face that dreaded discipline that is required for change.  But does tomorrow ever come?  It is always easier to delay change until… after the holidays, after this project at work is finished, or after the kids go back to school.  There are many reasons that we put off making the changes we know would benefit our lives.

A fear of failure: Although there is no chance of failure if we never try anything new, our greatest lessons and wisdom comes from overcoming our mistakes. We all fall. When we “fall off the wagon” or “miss the mark” we must dust off our knees and climb back on board.   

Perfectionism: This causes us to put off making a change until we believe we can do it perfectly. So often it is easier to do nothing than to think we won’t be able to do as well as we would like.  It is not important to achieve perfection.  The more steps we take that are positive, the more our health is improved.

But we can overcome the procrastination trap.  Start today, with the three steps listed below, to find your inner focus and motivation to jump start your “new you” resolution.

One Step at a Time

Break your goals down into simple steps you can start to implement today.  Even implementing small changes can transform your life.  If you start small, you will be more likely to take immediate action.  Each small “win” will move you forward with confidence.   If your overall goal is to lose weight, have more energy and improve your health, for instance, it can be daunting to think of incorporating all of the lifestyle changes required to meet your goal. So pick one simple change that you can do right away.  Make the change measurable, specific, and attainable. Perhaps you could pick up a new cook book and practice some new healthy recipes. Or you could make a plan to pick one day a week to cut up a variety of colorful vegetables.  Have them in your refrigerator, ready to go, promising yourself to eat them by the end of the week. Think of colorful stir-fries, smoothies and beautiful salads.  And with the added motivation you will have from incorporating this one new habit, you will be ready to focus on your next step.

Focus on an Inspirational Vision

Without a clear vision or focus we will drift through our days, living in default-mode, expending all of our energy in the here and now. If you are going to change an area of your life you need to get a clear and compelling vision for what you want to accomplish. A vision is like a goal but more vivid because you can clearly see it.  A vision is a picture in the mind that you focus on. Your energy will go toward where your focus is.  So don’t focus on what you want to get rid of or you will always have it. Focus on what you desire.  Create your vision, concentrate on that target, and you will automatically gravitate to what you desire.  If your goal is to lose weight and be healthy, envision yourself in the best physical shape of your life.  Let your thoughts settle and simply dream about looking and feeling your absolute best.  Hold that image of yourself… see the skin tone, the shape and every facet of your body.  See yourself in that outfit or suit that makes you feel like a million bucks.  See yourself doing what you love, and feeling fit and fabulous.  See your vision clearly and never let it fade.  Be in tune with this vision of yourself and your life… how happy you are, how active you are, how energized you are, how fantastic you look and feel.  Your mind is your GPS system and with this vision your mind and body will work in sync to make your vision a reality.

Keep Yourself Motivated

The best motivator is to have a genuine reason to change.  Tap into the higher wisdom within yourself by always remembering why… know why you want to change and move forward, so the daily distractions and short-term desires will not overshadow your long-term goals.  Is your quality of life diminished by lack of energy, excess weight, stress, depression, or declining health? When your “why” is strong enough you can change that voice in your head that says, “Oh, forget it, it’s not going to happen.” That voice that says, “Don’t start now, you’re getting ready to go on that cruise.”  Or, “Don’t get out of your warm, cozy bed one-half hour early to exercise!”  When your vision is a healthy mind and body filled with energy and vitality – making good choices is not a sacrifice but an inspiration.  Get clear about what’s most important to you today.  Knowing your why is the best place to start to train a new powerful voice within yourself that will inspire you on to your “new you” resolution.

Think of someone that can be there for you to cheer you on and hold you accountable to follow through with your goals.  It can be a family member, friend, co-worker, or a health coach.  It’s much easier to succeed when you have someone believing in you even when you feel tempted to falter from your path.

Start today to unlock your highest potential and live the life you dream of living.

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-Diane Duvall, CLC, CHHC, CPT

Are you ready to start your wellness journey but are unsure of where to begin? As your health coach, I can help you create a personalized roadmap to your goals. Reach out today to see if our Lifestyle Coaching Program can help you create the foundation needed to achieve lasting health and happiness.

Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, M.D., Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine.  Our Internal Medicine Practice is an integrated medical practice with a focus on Lifestyle Medicine to prevent chronic disease and promote health and wellness.

Dr. Geni Abraham, M.D., Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462.  Phone:  (561) 432-8935

Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow us on Facebook

Exercise!

How is everyone doing on this journey we have started?  We are on a collective journey and the end result is improved health and well-being.  We started off with food and nutrition. I hope that the information has been helpful and also encouraged you to start this journey. I have been thinking about the next step and decided that exercise is the best topic to follow up the nutrition information.

For many people, like myself who did not grow up with exercise as a natural part of my lifestyle it is very hard to introduce it now and incorporate it into our daily lives.

There is always a good reason not to exercise; Life always gets in the way and scheduling it into our life is challenging.  Getting motivated is also a huge part of the battle. In our younger days, we didn’t have to make plans to be physically active, we were just busy, running around, playing. Now as adults in our increasingly automated sedentary world things have changed. Now, we MUST make the time.

Why should we exercise? 

There are many benefits to exercise. 

  • Energy, strength, stamina, balance and mental well-being, are all positively affected by exercise.  There are chemical changes that occur in our body as a result of exercise that influence our bodies in a positive way. Our bones and muscles maintain their strength and integrity.  We age gracefully and maintain our physical function much better.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.

  • Lack of exercise promotes illness, fatigue, mental cloudiness, depression and we become increasingly frail.  It becomes increasingly hard to just do the activities of daily living.  We see this in our patient population all the time.

So what is appropriate amount of exercise? 

It depends on your goals. 

If you want to just exercise and get healthy the recommendation is 150 minutes weekly.  This can take on any form; you can go walking, biking, running, play tennis, or dance or any variation of these.  You can go to the park and play with your kids.  ALL of it counts towards your physical and mental well-being. If your goal is also to lose weight and get some of your health issues in order then more exercise is helpful.  I am attaching to this letter some options and suggestions for exercise.

Finding time is the biggest challenge in this super-fast society. Instead of waiting for the ideal conditions of 30-60 minutes of uninterrupted time to go to the gym. Start now, using whatever time you have and make the most of it.  If you are taking your kids to a sports activity don’t just sit there and watch, use this time to exercise while they are on the field.  Perhaps add some strength exercises for 5 minutes as soon as you wake up. Try to take your dog for a longer walk or when the dog stops to smell the roses, you can stop and add some squats and lunges. Join a dance class or go swimming. If you are stuck at a desk all day, every day, get up and move every hour.  Stand up, stretch and take a deep breath.  You will perform better at life. Exercise is one of the BEST ways to improve the stress in our daily lives.  As we become increasingly automated in our daily lives, let us work together to maintain our strength, mobility and stability.  As always please consult your doctor prior to initiating any exercise or diet plan. We do not want you to injure yourselves! Start slow and work towards a goal. There are many APPS for our smartphones out there that can help us in our quest for healthy exercise.

 LET’S GET MOVING!  WE WILL PROPEL FORWARD TOGETHER TOWARDS OUR GOAL OF GOOD HEALTH AND WELLNESS!