How You Can Look Younger and Fight Mommy Brain
Photo: Kelly Skalsky
Good news, ladies. There's something we can do to help alleviate symptoms of mommy brain. New studies are showing that light exercise - like walking, cooking and gardening - can facilitate cognitive function as we age.
On the flip side, the sedentary study participants showed declining cognitive ability as they aged, so get up off your backside to protect your brain.
Lift Weights to Look and Feel Great
It turns out weight training can also help keep your brains (and buns and skin) fit and firm. Twice weekly weight training increases human growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth and cell reproduction and regeneration. Toned muscles and fresh cells, especially skin cells, means a more youthful appearance to go along with that sprightly brain of yours.
After getting some wonderfully motivating advice from a trainer, I began a twice weekly weight training program this week. I've already lost a couple pounds. I'm eating healthier, I feel great, I look better, and my sleep is more restful.
In the book The New Metabolic Effect Diet, Jade and Keoni Teta compare weight training to the Fountain of Youth:
Hormones released from resistance training determine muscle growth, affect skin texture and tone, build bone and repair damage. These hormones include growth hormone... Both brain function and sexual potency are greatly enhanced by weight training. Two 2007 studies, one from the Karolinska Institute and the other from Columbia University Medical Center, show how exercise regenerates brain cells and improves mood and memory.
Jade and Keoni Teta recommend lots of sleep to keep levels of human growth hormone production stable. Also, avoid elevating your blood sugar at night via large meals or heaping helpings of carbs, as that can put a dent in HGH production.
For those among us, and they are many, who can't get excited about going for walks or brisk gardening, scientists from the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of British Columbia and other institutions have shown, for the first time, that light-duty weight training changes how well older women think and how blood flows within their brains.
Don't Have Weights? Drop and Give Me Twenty
If you think you don't have the time or energy to weight train, then doing a couple sets of push-ups, lunges and squats a few times per week can make a huge difference in how you look, feel and think.
Don't bother going to the gym if it's not your thing. Exercise wherever and whenever by using your own body weight or taking those walks around the block. No scheduling and no weights required. Your brain (and your butt) will thank you for it.
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