Movement supports brain health in multiple ways. Movement provides oxygen to the brain and encourages the brain to produce new brain cells through a process call neurogenesis. Indirectly, movement supports brain health by improving mood and sleep quality while reducing stress and anxiety.

Movement Recommendations

Aim for at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity movement each week. You can determine a frequency and duration that works best for you. We recommend at least 30 minutes of movement 5 days a week. Moderate-intensity movement noticeably increases your heart rate, breathing rate (respiration), and body temperature.

Other Examples Include:

  • Brisk walking or hiking
  • Body weight movements (squats and push-ups)
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Lifting/moving moderate weights
  • Dancing
  • Running around with your children or grandchildren

Examples of Movement Include:

  • Movement Classes
  • Water Movement Class
  • Low Impact Chair Movements
  • Bocce Ball
  • Shuffleboard
  • Line Dancing

Brain Movements

Although our brain is an organ, it can be trained just like a muscle to stay strong and healthy. Here are some great activities to keep your brain functioning at full capacity:

  • Play a board game
  • Read
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Draw or paint
  • Learn a new language
  • Do math in your head (without pen, paper, or calculator)
  • Memorize and recall a list
  • Try to guess the ingredients in a recipe
  • Brush your teeth with your other hand

Anything that challenges your brain and, ideally, uses more than one of your senses works.

More on Meditation:

Meditation can increase the size of the area in your brain responsible for learning and memory. Furthermore, movement decreases the size of the area in your brain responsible for stress and anxiety.

All you need to meditate is a quiet space and a few minutes alone. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor with your back straight (no slouching). Close your eyes and breathe slowly, deeply and gently. Focus on each inhale and exhale. When other thoughts enter your mind (and they will), acknowledge them, then go back to focusing on your breath. If you are new to meditation, start with five minutes a day and build up time from there.

More on Deep Breathing:

The power of deep breathing is immense. Deep breathing can slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Whenever you start to feel anxious or stressed, taking six deep breathes will make you feel calmer immediately. Taking deep breaths before you enter a known stressful situation can be beneficial too. Look at the graphic to see how it’s done: