Exercise Those Brain Muscles

Need Some Braino?

Who thinks about brain stimulation as an important component of wellness? It doesn’t really top the charts of selfcare priority, does it?
I’ve been thinking about it, though, especially as I have observed my parents, their spouses, my grandparents and their respective circles of friends.

My parents (both divorced and remarried) and their spouses are active people. All of them still work, either full-time or part-time. My grandparents are all retired, but they don’t let any moss grow under their feet. They seem to be moving all the time.

I’ve had some random conversations with them about this. I said once to my grandfather, You seem like you’re always busy. How do you have the energy for that?

Going Out With His Boots On

He goes, Kid, you gotta keep moving and you gotta keep your brain stimulated, or you’re just going to fade away. I don’t want that. I intend to go out with my boots on.


I looked at the things he was doing, some with my grandmother and some with his friends. And some alone. He’s into day trading. He goes to investor club meetings. He listens to educational audio books. He plays chess. He’s on the board of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Remember, this is a guy who is in his 80s. He’s doing all this stuff like he’s my age!

And then I looked at my grandmother. She had her own business for years and then sold it, but she still goes in to the office several times a week. I’m not sure exactly what she does, but she gets dressed up and goes in for a number of hours and always seems to return bright-eyed and energized.
She’s in an investor’s club too, but a different one from my grandfather.

Five years ago she purchased a house, rehabbed it, flipped it, and was so excited that she bought another house and did the same thing. Since those two projects, she’s done several more and actually leads a sub-group at the investor’s club specifically for grandmotherly-type women (I don’t know how else to say it!) who are into the same thing. Holy crap! This is a woman in her 80s!

Make the Choice: Care for Your Brain

I’ve concluded that if a person keeps their brain active, engaged, and stimulated, it contributes hugely to their overall wellness. Maybe my grandparents are naturally blessed with good health and energy, but I have to think that their vitality goes beyond that. It has to be connected with the brain care they give themselves.

Even my parents, who are only in their 60s and fully engaged in life, seem to deliberately choose activities that will challenge their brains. My dad said to me once, I can stay busy with all kinds of pursuits, but I try to be intentional about the ones I give time to. I want to limit the number of brain cells that are dying off every day! I do that by challenging my brain and keeping my brain muscles exercised.

My mom told me once that when she started noticing that she was having trouble remembering things, it shook her up. Her doc told her some stuff to take, but he also urged her to do things to work out her brain muscles, so to speak. She obeyed, and noticed a difference in her memory.
Out of time, so I’m stopping for now. Here’s my last thought: we exercise our bodies to maintain wellness. Stands to reason we should do the same thing for our minds.

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