Tips on how to exercise your brain

I was at a fitness conference in California last week featuring 700 fitness business owners from around the world, in addition to amazing speakers each of the three days talking about a massive range of topics. One of them that really caught my attention was around keeping your brain engaged through training.

The speaker, Stephen Jepson was a hilarious, quirky, witty man who, at the age of 74 is astoundingly fit. Not bodybuilder fit, but functionally fit. I found myself enthusiastically agreeing with so many of the things he said that were critically important to how I train my clients and what we do at our gym. To have a 74-year-old man in amazing mental and physical health confirming the philosophies we hold to be true was amazing evidence to just that.

Too many people live a life of sitting, sitting, sitting. If we do a sport it is one that we are already good at and while that may be great for mastering something, it doesn’t do anything for brain activity.

When we coach athletes, hockey players, football players, soccer, baseball, etc. – we work a lot on hand/eye coordination, balance, agility, speed and strength. We also do this with adults, though not as much. Jepson really tuned me in to the fact that we need to do this more and more for all adults, regardless of age.

He is a shining example of a fit gentleman who is smart as a whip at age 74, and a lesson to all of us. I highly recommend you google his name and watch some of the video’s on YouTube.

So what can you do now?

The next time you are in the gym try doing some more work with strength training using a Bosu Ball (a half ball that you can stand, sit or lay on). This alone will challenge your balance and proprioception (awareness of where your body is positioned in the space around you), greatly improving your ability to function and really creating a massive surge in brain function – especially when you stand on one leg, but not your favourite one, your non dominant one.

Learn to juggle. It does not matter if you can do it or not, the very act of learning that skill will fire up your motor neurons and engage your brain, providing immediate benefit. Jepson took up juggling clubs at the age of 72, snowboarding in his 60s, learned to ride a unicycle and so much more.

As a species, as adults, we need to play more. We really do. We are too dependant on machines, computers, cell phones, tablets, televisions etc. We need to spend some time in a playground every week, maybe even every day.

Learn something new this year. That is my challenge to you (and to me). Ride a skateboard, unicycle, juggle, play a new sport, anything. It doesn’t have to be complex – go to a toy store and get a package of Jacks. Remember those little things? A rubber ball and those little metal star shaped things? You bounce the ball and pick up one Jack. Then set it down and do it again but pick up two Jacks etc. Then do it with your other hand – that is what really makes your brain fire up!

Brush your teeth tonight with your other hand – it’s that simple. Keep your brain active, for that is one of the most powerful organs that you need to support.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

Just Posted

Two-vehicle collision involved stolen vehicle in Red Deer

One driver transported to hospital, one arrested

WATCH: Food Truck Fridays are back in full swing

Red Deerians enjoy a variety of different foods

RDC introduces Justice Studies diploma to fill community gap

Forty students will begin studies in Fall 2018

Seventh annual ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ set for June 7th

Red Deer fundraising event to take place at The Outreach Centre

WATCH: Alix holds 2nd annual Icebreaker Roughstock

Many come out to see some intense rodeo action

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Alberta Party names candidate for upcoming byelection

The Alberta Party made the announcement May 24 at the lighthouse in Sylvan Lake

Military college students accused of violating Qur’an with bacon

Alleged acts by four cadets from the Royal Military College in Quebec caught on video

Most Read