It may seem obvious. A habit of consistent exercise is good for you. Sufficient and quality sleep is also good for you, and eating brain nourishing foods will fuel your life and all that you ask from it.
All three are essential to reach your highest wellness potential and all are crucial for maintaining optimal brain health. Research indicates all three could also help you prevent Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Coronary Heart Disease. (Check out part one of my brain health series for the startling statistics about AD.)
-> Sign up to get free tips on how to achieve your wellness and get a free 5 Minute Flow!
So, what is more important: your jean size or your brain and heart health? What if you just felt better, stronger, more confident in your jeans, and practiced habits like these that will help you prevent AD and heart disease? You’d be contributing to your health and feel better in your jeans. It’s a win-win! (See my article on body acceptance and why appreciating the journey will help you reach that body acceptance and love.)
There is no need to choose between fitting in your clothes and being as healthy as possible. Exercise, sleep, and eating nourishing foods is good for your brain, your heart, and your beautiful body.
The following three lifestyle strategies will help you achieve both: your jean size and your brain and heart health!
4. Move every single day.
Ladies, we used to think we could…
- Take a couple of days, or more, off exercise
- Sweat two, three, or four times each week without consistency
- Use exercise alone to maintain our weight or lose weight
- Put exercise after we’ve cared for others around us…
…And basically, live sitting/driving much of the week and work “off” our mistakes on a not-so-daily basis. This lifestyle choice will lead to more frustrations, diets, celebrity cleanses, 30 or 60-day challenges. This results in the same old same old frustration and cycle of yo-yo deprivation dieting, over cardio-ing, weight gain, and frustration.
We cannot continue to do this, ladies. It is terrible for your body, yet even worse for your heart and brain to avoid a consistent exercise practice. Even more now at 45+, our bodies are different. So is the way you can treat your brain. Care for it through daily exercise.
If you want to attack obesity, Alzheimer’s, depression, and aging all at the same time – move! Particularly strength train. Research shows that those who strength train regularly have better cognitive abilities than those who do not.
Exercise improves the flow of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the brain and protects it against things like high sugar levels. It also decreases inflammation, fat cells, weight, and frailty. It increases metabolism, longevity, bone density, and confidence.
And, for my dear readers in Peri or Menopause (anyone 45+), research has shown that exercise helps decrease the milder “vasomotor” symptoms, like hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances.
5. Get quality sleep
By now, it’s no surprise to you; I am a proponent of sleep as the foundation of your health and wellness, weight maintenance or loss, stress management, and productivity.
Sleep is the foundation for your overall health, wellness, and your physique. It helps you remain calm during stressful experiences, wards off cravings, and increases metabolism. Lack of sleep has been proven a lead indicator of depression, psychosis, stroke, and obesity.
Relative to brain health, your lack of sleep today can tell us a lot about your chances of getting AD. In a recent study, the more fragmented your sleep is, the more likely there will be an increase in beta-amyloid (a toxic plaque found in the brain and a key player in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s).
“We have found that the sleep you’re having right now is almost like a crystal ball telling you when and how fast Alzheimer’s pathology will develop in your brain,” says Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience and senior author of the paper published in the journal Current Biology.
6. Eat nourishing, brain-healthy foods
Food companies use billions of dollars on behavioral science to coax you into eating their brand of whatever. They know how to gain your interest and show you messages incessantly about how you will feel and look if you eat their foods.
Resist the foods that do not feed your brain. Your brain uses 20 – 30 percent of the calories you consume.
Even with a rigorous exercise routine, a diet filled with processed foods, sugar, bad fats, ingredients with pesticides, artificial colors, and dyes will prevent your brain from reaching its optimal health.
Last, give up the yo-yo dieting. The brain doesn’t respond well to it, and neither does your body!
If you want to learn more ways to get that holistic wellness, sign up for my newsletter for the next round of openings in our program, and get a free 5 Minute Flow.