when the items on my bathroom sink counter were
aromatic candles in lovely holders,
a single flower in a small vase,
a jeweled (fake) clock (working) . . .
and this is what it has come to . . .
There’s a bright spot. If we work the brain, we can grow new brain cells. “There is a gradual growing awareness that challenging your brain can have positive effects,” says Dr. Gene Cohen, director of the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University. “Every time you challenge your brain, it will actually modify the brain. We can indeed form new brain cells, despite a century of being told it’s impossible.”
Computer programs to improve brain performance are a booming business.
One form of training, however, has been shown to maintain and improve brain health — physical exercise. In humans, exercise improves what scientists call “executive function,” the set of abilities that allows you to select behavior that’s appropriate to the situation, inhibit inappropriate behavior and focus on the job at hand in spite of distractions.
Executive function starts to decline when people reach their 70s. But elderly people who have been athletic all their lives have much better executive function than sedentary people of the same age. This relationship might occur because people who are healthier tend to be more active, but that’s not the whole story. When inactive people get more exercise, even starting in their 70s, their executive function improves, as shown in a recent meta-analysis of 18 studies. One effective training program involves just 30 to 60 minutes of fast walking several times a week.
So instead of spending money on computer games or puzzles to improve your brain’s health, invest in a gym membership. Or just turn off the computer and go for a brisk walk.
[Exercise on the Brain, November 8, 2007, article by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang]
Look, this morning I got a few more wrinkles, and there ain’t too much I can do about that.
– Lena Horne
Life is indeed a balancing act – but how marvelous that we can juggle several things at once! Noticing the activities of my grandchildren, I realize that maintaining a Sense of Balance starts early. Although when I was young and dealing with studies and a social life and Learning about Life, I didn’t really think of it as juggling: I just did it. The same holds true when I was a young wife and mother – working and mothering and maintaining a relationship with my husband and with friends: it did not seem a hardship (that is not to say that there was no stress – but we can handle stress).
Now, past mid-life, I am still making choices and juggling and balancing – and I find it invigorating and wouldn’t live any other way. In other words: no regrets through each stage of my life – from the First Act until now.
A balancing act essentially is Maintaining Balance – which at times may be challenging – but I’ve found it to be ultimately rewarding and am so grateful for each and every moment.
I’m especially grateful for the folks I’ve met along the way as I deal with Balance. Hubby and I often comment about the dear friends we have since Time Immemorial and friends from each walk of life, each place we have lived, each organization or group in which we participated, each new contact . . . .
Life is rich. Life is good.
Now, in my dotage, it is truly invigorating to be testing the waters via the internet: Facebooking, blogging, electronic mailing, googling. It is amazing how one can connect with friends – old friends, new friends – and immediately learn what is going on in the world, find a recipe, learn about particular interests (books most especially comes to mind!), venture out – balancing all the way!
AND, if I now and then drop something, life continues on (as a friend commented recently, the earth doesn’t stop spinning on its axis).