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Next Stop – Brain Aerobics Class

Looks like we are all going to be signing up for brain exercise brainprofileclasses, if recent media reports are any indication. There are numerous studies underway that hope to quantify whether brain exercises and brain healthy foods help delay memory loss and/or dementia.

Typically, our fellow boomers are looking for ways to stave off any signs of aging, so it’s no surprise that we want to keep our brains in good shape. Nintendo has come out with Brain Age, a video game that is supposed to give the prefrontal cortex a workout according to the instructions. Then there’s Happy Neuron that gives subscribers access to cranial calisthenics, and My Brain Trainer that offers similar content. Posit Science has developed software that promotes brain fitness. Leave it to clever entrepreneurs to find a lot of ways to profit from this phenomena. When you’re part of a demographic as big as ours, you have to expect this kind of attention.

antioxidantsAs for brain healthy foods, anything with antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats is the way to go. Green leafy veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, and fruits are all good. Then the omega-3 fatty acids mostly come from fish like herring, sardines, tuna, anchovies and whitefish. Add some B vitamins and multivitamin supplements and you’re good to go.

So where is all this brain workout stuff going? It reminds of the ginseng craze when everyone started drinking ginseng tea because they believed that it would increase energy levels. Truckers were picking up vials of it at truck stops at the height of the fad. As the boomers gray out, I can envision hundreds of businesses geared to keeping us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Most studies have shown the more active boomers are physically, the better off their brain power is. The correlation between cardiovascular exercise and blood circulation seems to be responsible for healthier brains, or as some put it, what’s good for crosswordyour heart is good for your head.

Personally, I think I’ll stick with my crossword puzzles. They teach me new words and facts I never would have known and helps to keep my memory chips in top condition. If I could just figure out how to do the puzzles while I’m swimming laps and munching on a kale salad with anchovies on top, I’d have all the bases covered. Given our lifelong penchant for multitasking, I won’t be surprised if someone comes up with a way to exercise the brain and promote a healthy heart at the same time. Seventy million boomers is a mighty attractive customer base.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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