Bench Presses for Your Brain

02.16.24 |

I often talk about how modern society lulls us into sleepwalking through our lives, mindlessly lurching from one Habit of Disease to the next as we try to keep up with the pace of our chaotic, modern lives.

Your power to make conscious choices about your future is your single greatest superpower, and it’s what makes mankind unique from the rest of the animal kingdom. We can separate ourselves from our primal instincts and make thoughtful decisions about our goals and our future. 

All of this power comes from your brain, a part of your body that needs exercise and nutrition to be at its best, just like every other muscle in your body.

The Science of Thinking

As science reveals the secrets of the three-pound CPU on top of your shoulders, we’re discovering the brain’s amazing resilience to changing conditions – what neuroscientists call “plasticity.” Your brain will provide optimal levels of cognition and memory as long as you maintain it under the following conditions:

  • Use it.
  • Keep enough blood flowing to provide the oxygen it needs to flourish.
  • Feed it enough of the right nutrients.

The brain cells we focus on for Dr. A’s Habits of Health are neurons – the thinking cells that create and support memory. You have about 100 billion of them, yet they make up only 10% of your total brain cells. The remaining 90% are composed of support cells that provide housekeeping functions for the neurons.

Your daily choices can help you to unlock the full potential of your brain and support your goals of longevity far into the future.

Brain Exercise

Our brains need a workout as much as our bodies do! But it doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, creating brain fitness can be as simple as reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, having deep discussions with friends, playing instruments, and many more varieties of activities.

At the same time, physical activity – such as your EAT and NEAT routines – help to support brain health as well, as does eating healthy foods and getting the recommended amount of sleep each night.

Your brain is an amazing tool. Sharpening it will improve every other aspect of your life. This is a big topic, so turn to page 520 of Dr. A’s Habits of Health for a deep dive into your brain, how it works, and what you can do to improve it.