Grow Smarter, Not Older

I recently recommended a book by Dr. Christiane Northrup called Goddesses Never Age. In my blog, I discussed ways of staying young even as you grow older. Since then, I've been trying to catch myself before I use "old people speak" and I'm no longer saying things like "senior moment" when I have a memory lapse. (I hate the term "brain fart" but I haven't come up with a better one yet...)

I believe, along with Dr. Northrup, that our minds play a profound role in how we age. Now I have also learned that our bodies can get in on that role. Studies show that aerobic exercise makes a big difference to not only our muscles and heart, but also to the brain. If you are trying to avoid losing your memory, Dr. Northrop prescribes 20 minutes of aerobics daily. Check out this video for specifics:

I currently teach four classes per week which include aerobic dance. And as I have gotten older, sometimes I've wondered if I'm choosing the correct path. After all, I also teach yoga and Pilates and these mat-based classes seem, on the surface, to be more appropriate for aging bodies. (Pilates is actually quite strenuous and many yoga postures build strength as well as flexibility, so these classes are certainly not easy!) Because my Fit Jam classes are tiring, I've wondered when it might be advisable to give them up.

Well, I now believe giving up aerobics would be a big mistake. We already knew weight-bearing exercise is crucial for building and maintaining strong bones. (Did you already know this?) As we age, we do NOT want to deal with bone loss. And it looks like aerobics benefit us in many other ways as well.

What kinds of activities are aerobic? These are a few I can think of off the top of my head: power walking, jogging, swimming laps, rollerblading, dancing, vigorous hiking, rowing, playing basketball and soccer. Examples of exercise that is NOT aerobic: shopping at the mall, golf, bowling, archery, skeet shooting, and scuba diving. These might be enjoyable activities but they will not consistently put your heart rate into an aerobic range. In order to get the benefits we're discussing, you need to be breathing hard. It should be difficult to hold a conversation, but not impossible to speak.

Now that spring is right around the corner (RIGHT???) it's time to seek out some sunshine, fresh air, and aerobic exercise. I hope to see you out there!