Friday, March 02, 2007

Neurobics: No Pain, No Gain

My Mom and I have been going through some of my Dad's old stuff, stuff that we either couldn't deal with looking at last year or that didn't seem important enough to warrant immediate attention.

For instance, "Keep Your Brain Alive," a book by Lawrence Katz and Manning Rubin. This is a collection of 83 "neurobic" exercises designed to keep your brain functioning at top capability. I started flipping through it mockingly and then found myself getting pulled into it, starting to think about how I could incorporate some of these exercises into my own life. So, since I just spent some of my brain power reading a book, I figure I'd share my learnings with you, my two dear readers.

Neurobics is a theory of brain exercise involving your dendrites, the elements of your brain that receive information across the synapses. If the dendrites are not used they atrophy. Atrophied dendrites then cause "senior moments," some of which I've experienced myself at the tender age of 34.

So, how to strengthen the dendrites?

Present your brain with nonroutine and unexpected experiences using various combinations of all your senses. For example:

--Shower with your eyes closed. Find the soap, the shampoo, wash yourself only by touch.

--Use your nondominant hand for toothbrushing, makeup, buttoning shirts, eating, whatever.

--Learn touch typing; it uses multiple senses at one time apparently

--Learn a new hobby, something you have never done before

--Get to the outdoors, get off the treadmill and onto a road or trail, force yourself to use multiple senses while exercising, ie, "oh here comes a dog, is the Walk sign illuminated?, don't bump into that tree, etc."

Perhaps most exciting, for all you seniors out there, is the authors' continual return to a favorite method for utilizing multiple senses: sex. Good news!

So. All you spry "still-with-it" octogenarians? We've finally figured you out. You've been doing it with your eyes closed, with your nondominant hand, with a hobby theme, and outdoors.

Finally, the real reason you are called The Greatest Generation.

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