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To save your brain you gotta work your heart

Posted Sep 11 2011 11:01pm

I have this theory that the rising rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s are connected to the increasing use of computers. No, don’t go away, it’ll make sense when I explain it. Probably.

Your brain in a computer

See, as computers get more powerful they need more and more memory. And that memory has to come from some where. I know, you probably thought it came from those silicon chip things they stick inside the computer. But I think that’s only part of the answer.

You can’t get something from nothing

I think there is a limited amount of memory in the universe and as you use more in one area you have to take it from somewhere. So, as your PC or Apple gets more and more powerful, and faster and has more memory, it’s coming from the universe – namely me and you. And that’s why, as you marvel at the speed that your computer is working you might also pause to consider that it’s coming at the expense of your Aunt Mabel who, as the rest of the family have noticed, is not quite as quick as she used to be.

Now, I bring this all up because while we may not be able to turn back the technological tide that is sucking up our memory, there are a number of things we can do in our everyday life to help reduce the likelihood that it’s our memory that is sucked up into the iPad.

Pump it up

One is that any exercise you do that gets your heart pumping could also have a big impact on your brain, reducing your risk of dementia or other memory problems. The study, from the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings , examined 1,600 research papers and found that most of the science seems to point firmly to exercise as being a great way to not only promote physical health but also mental health.

The best part was that the exercise didn’t have to be hugely strenuous or demanding, it just had to be demanding enough to raise your heart rate and increase your body’s need for oxygen; that could be everything from going to the gym, to going for a walk, raking leaves or shoveling snow.

So, as the fall and winter draw near get out those rakes and shovels. They could help do more than just keep the driveway clear, they could help you keep your mind clear as well.

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