Nimble: marked by quick, alert, clever conception
I would love to be able to write a post about how nimble I am as a runner, how light I am on my feet, how easily I hop over obstacles. Except that’s not me. Good thing there’s another definition of nimble.
If I’ve got food and water, as long as I can exercise my mind and keep it nimble, then I’ll be okay. — Rob Walton
Want to keep that brain running?
Then maybe it’s time to take up running. After watching my inlaws and my parents age, with various problems, I’ll admit that being on the other side of 50 can seem rather scary. Add in a little postmenopausal forgetfulness, and it’s little wonder that I can be concerned about the future.
I’m not a medical professional, but it does seem like study after study shows that keeping fit as we age also keeps our mind nimble.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association:
Regular physical exercise may be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain Because of its known cardiovascular benefits, a medically approved exercise program is a valuable part of any overall wellness plan.
(read the full article here)
I’m convinced — how much do I need to do?
Again, I’m not a doctor, a nurse, a certified trainer — you get the picture. And the recommendations seem to vary from a mere 120 minutes of sweating a week up to maybe 450.
I would argue, though that to keep your brain nimble, anything is better than nothing. Walking is better than sitting. Something that makes you sweat more than a brisk walk might be even better. Of course I think running — when not taken to extremes (and I’m sure my husband and I might argue over just what “taken to extremes” might mean) — is a great form of exercise, but it’s not the only form of exercise that will help you preserve that gray matter as you age.
According to the Harvard Health Blog:
Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t.
(read the full post here)
Again, I know that I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m glad that something that can make me feel so good — at least sometimes — that almost always allows me to come back feeling better than when I left — will also help me keep my brain nimble as I age.
I may not be able to jump over a candlestick (I am in awe of hurdlers), but I find comfort in the fact that simply getting out there and working up a sweat can keep my mind nimble — even though sometimes it feels like I’m losing it!
Tell me in the comments:
What’s your “why” to keep running?
In what ways has running helped you stay nimble?
What other ways do you try to keep your mind nimble?