Integrated Brain Fitness for October
Give yourself a gold star for each of these brain-healthy activities you do this month.
Here's a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Find three balls (or beanbags, or oranges, or whatever). Watch a video on how to juggle, like this one. Start with one ball and practice until you can throw it perfectly every time.
Step 2: Add a second ball, then a third.
Step 3-4: Practice, practice, practice until you can juggle three balls for longer and longer times.
If you already knew how to juggle, step it up a notch. Here are some ideas:
- Teach yourself how to joggle – juggle and jog at the same time.
- Add a fourth or fifth ball to your juggling.
- Find a juggling friend and practice two-person juggling.
- Use flames or knives instead of balls. (Just kidding. Don’t do that.)
Why olive oil?
There’s a fair amount of scientific evidence that olive oil is good for the brain. For starters, it’s rich in polyphenols and vitamin E, both of which have been shown to protect against cognitive problems. What’s more, it’s a key part of the Mediterranean diet, which multiple studies suggest is good for cognitive function. Martha Clare Morris, PhD, includes olive oil as one of the 10 essential brain-healthy food groups in her MIND diet (designed specifically for cognitive health) which has been shown to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53%.
Idea 1: For your first hike of the month, try going somewhere you haven't been before. It could be a nearby national or state park, or even a city park.
Idea 2: Invite a friend or two on a hike to add a social element.
Idea 3: Spend your hike practicing your visual focus. Try to notice as much visual detail you can around you. After the hike, try to remember what you saw in as much detail as you can.
Idea 4: Spend your hike practicing your auditory focus. Try to notice as much sound as you can around you. After the hike, try to remember what you heard in as much detail as you can.
One of the best ways to ensure that you get enough sleep is to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Here are some ideas for establishing a schedule this month.
Step 1: Decide on your preferred wake-up time. It's best if it's the same time every day, including weekends. Once you pick your wake-up time, think about your bedtime. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep a night, though some need much more than others. What amount of sleep works best for you? Count backward from your wake-up time to set your daily bedtime.
Step 2: Put your new schedule into practice. At you bedtime, turn off all the lights and get your room as dark as possible. At wake-up time, turn on all the lights. Light level helps your body know whether you should be asleep or awake.
Note: If your new chosen sleep schedule is dramatically different from what you're already doing, adjust in stages. For instance, if you currently go to bed at midnight but would like to go to bed at 10:30, move your bedtime back 15 minutes each night until you get to you preferred schedule.
Step 3: Check in with yourself on how your new sleep schedule is going. Is it going well? If not, try to figure out why not and adjust your schedule accordingly. Don't forget that weekends count, too!
Step 4: Keep going with your sleep schedule. Hopefully by now it's becoming a habit!