Weekly fitness Tips from our Fitness Instructor Ed Wong
Use it or Lose it: maintaining brain power by balance exercises.
As we age, it is generally thought that the brain becomes sluggish because we lose neural connections. Often it has been suggested to do mental exercises such as cross-word puzzles, sudoku, scrabble, etc., which help to minimize cognitive decline and to rebuild neural connections. However, one of the easiest ways to improve brain power is by doing balance exercises. Not only will balance exercises help with fall prevention and muscle toning, they will keep the brain neurons active and working, causing them to sprout new pathways that link to other neurons.
When you invoke the balance mechanism of your body, the brain has to take information from your eyes, your ears (vestibulary system) and your body parts (proprioceptive system) in order to keep you from losing your balance. This requires large amount of mental processing as the brain sends neural information to the muscles that are required to maintain balance. This becomes a workout for both the brain and the muscular system. So next time when you do a balance exercise such as standing on one leg, consider that you are also helping your brain.