Brain Fitness: It’s on the Rise

Lois Moncel, Director of Fitness & Wellness

Are you concerned about someone you love or worried about personally being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or another form of cognitive decline? It has been shown that the number of people with dementia will increase significantly all around the world, going from 44 million in 2014 to an expected 76 million in 2030. By 2050 we will see that number increase to 135 million worldwide. How do we combat this growing concern?

Recent studies show that exercises and activities that include both mental and physical demands (dual training) see more of an increase in cognitive improvement versus those who engage in only mental exercise (playing brain games) or those who participate in an exercise that only demands physical exertion, (walking on a treadmill).

So, what should we do? Think about participating in activities that not only work your body but force you to think at the same time. Try to find a form of exercise that forces you to remember a pattern or sequence, or form a strategy while you are physically exerting energy. Examples include tai chi, sports, dance, boxing, and coordination/motor fitness (Bamidis et al, 2014).

Make it a goal for yourself in the next few months to explore new ways to exercise that not only challenges your body physically, but forces you to focus, pay attention, test your memory, and increase your cognitive speed.