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7 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Superhero (and Get Insanely Healthy)

7 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Superhero (and Get Insanely Healthy)


    We all want to be healthy, not just because we want to look good in the mirror —  it’s because we want to feel good too. When we hit our golden years, we want to still be taking on roles in our own “personal action movie”, not rolling along in a scooter while other people stand in for the life we wish we had.

    So let’s take a look at 7 great ways to unleash your own inner superhero and get insanely healthy at the same time:

    1. Eat right

    Using food as fuel and getting enough water makes everything easier. You’ll move better, feel better, and have more energy — the essentials of good health.

    A diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats will keep you in fighting form, creating a lean and mean look that can power you through the toughest of days, while giving you the strength to take on any of life’s challenges. While some like to dive all-in, the best approach might be to start small and build the healthy habit. Try to not drink caloric beverages for a week. Only water, green tea, and black coffee. Once you’ve got the hang of that then think about moving on to your next healthy habit — like 30 minutes of exercise daily.

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    2. Get moving

    Those who wake up in the morning feeling sluggish and grab a cup of coffee and a donut might have the energy to get to work, but once at their desk, it drops. By afternoon, it’s time for a nap. The only trouble is that for most of us nap-time ended in kindergarten.

    Trade the donut for a  two mile run, a brisk walk around the block with the dog, or a morning swim and you’ll be fired up for the rest of the day. You’ll be inspired to make the right food choices and to continue that good feeling all day long. Set your phone to buzz you every 50 minutes. When that occurs, knock out 10 push-ups and walk the stairs at the office.

    3. Take charge of stress

    Too much stress opens the door for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Take it down a notch with relaxing activities that soothe the soul, like a walk or a few minutes of meditation.

    4. Get enough sleep

    Experts recommend eight hours for a reason. Those who don’t get enough sleep are inclined to eat more and gain weight, perpetuating the cycle of low energy and a sluggish, slow spirit.

    Be sure to hit the hay at a reasonable time, even on weekends. Do you really need to stay out drinking until 2am? Why not turn in early and get up at 8 a.m. and start drinking something that’ll help you get going: good ol’ H2O.

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    Let your mind refuel and you can power through every day with super-human strength.

    5. Find your joy

    Many people worldwide suffer from depression, in degrees ranging from a general feeling of sadness to debilitating depression that prevents them from getting out of bed.

    Good food and exercise are great ways to combat mild forms of depression. But also try finding things that bring a sense of joy. Whether it’s music, a favorite activity like painting or communing with nature, these are essential to be truly joyous in spirit.

    Surround yourself with love and erase negativity from your space. That includes negative people (keep contact with Debbie Downer or Bad News Brad limited) and negative space (get the clutter out and give your rooms a fresh new look).

    Also, laughing really is good medicine. Its benefits include relieving stress, easing pain, boosting the immune system and releasing mood-boosting endorphins. That’s why Bob Newhart and Don Rickles are still telling jokes, decades after they started in the comedy business.

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    If you are still having trouble, think of it like this:

    • What are you good at?
    • What do you know?
    • What are you passionate about?
    Fill your life and others with those three things and you’ll be a pretty happy camper.

    6. Learn something new every day

    Take advantage of the mind-body connection and challenge yourself to use both on your way to better health.

    Read the latest bestseller (either fiction or non-fiction). Visit a museum to see what kinds of art you might like. Check out a historic site to learn more about your surroundings.

    By feeling more invested in your world, you’ll be more inspired to play a bigger role in it yourself.

    7. See the end game — and commit to the right plays now

    If you want to get healthy, keep in mind the reasons why it matters.

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    Do you want to look great and feel great so you can land the partner of your dreams? Do you want to be able to keep up with your kids now…and grandkids later? Do you want to spend your retirement traveling the world, and need the energy?

    All these things are so much harder without a healthy lifestyle. So by focusing on future needs, it will be harder to neglect them now.

    Now that you know how to unleash your inner superhero, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take flight.

    (Photo credit: Superbusinesswoman Flying via Shutterstock)

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    Justin Miller

    Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

    How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week The Habits of the Highly Healthy How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It The Beginners Guide To Slacklining A New Way to Create a Bucket List

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

    7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

    Forgot a name? Misplaced your keys? Taking longer to find the right words? Don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to improve your memory.

    You’re probably expecting us to reveal 7 little known and newly discovered herbs from the forests of the Amazon, the peaks of the Himalayas and the Arctic tundra. No such luck.

    Despite Americans spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha, Periwinkle, Bacopa, Vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s and memory boosting supplement cocktails, there is very little scientific evidence they actually work. [1]

    Instead, we’re going to offer you 7 completely natural memory boosters, backed up by scientific research. It may take a little more effort than a magic memory pill, but the benefits will transcend your memory and improve your overall quality of life as well, making you more fit, energetic, happy and sharp.

    How Do We Remember?

    The first process in remembering is creating a memory.

    This is where our brain sends a signal, associated with a thought, event or piece of information our mind is processing, over our brains neural pathways, called synapses.

    Think of our neural pathways like roads and information like trucks. The better the roads, the more trucks can be driven.

    The second step in remembering is memory consolidation.

    Consolidation is when the brain takes that thought, event or piece of information and actually stores it in the brain. So now we’re talking about taking delivery of the trucks and storing its contents in the warehouse.

    Consolidation helps us store information and label it properly, so its organized and easy to retrieve when needed.

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    The last step is memory retrieval.

    That’s the step whereby we try to retrieve the information stored in our brains. You know when you have the name of someone on the tip of your tongue.

    You have the information; it’s been stored, but you just can’t find it. Our memory recall is typically better the stronger the memory is and the more often we’ve used it.

    Memory decline is a normal part of aging. However, new scientific research is discovering many new ways for us to improve memory creation, consolidation and retrieval–no matter our age.

    7 Natural Memory Boosters

    So how to work on memory and boost your brain power? Here’re 7 brain boosters backed by science that you should try:

    1. Aerobic Exercise

    Aerobic activity is about as close as we get to a magic pill for our memories. Exercise helps your brain create new capillaries and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which creates new brain cells and connections. To put it in plain english, aerobic activity changes our brains and helps it grow.

    Studies have shown that exercising increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory. In fact, even if you start exercising as an older adult, you can reverse cognitive decline by 1 to 2 years and protects against further decreases in the size of the hippocampus, which is essential for memory. [2]

    In another study, reviewed by Dr. Ian Robertson of the University of Dublin, they looked at a group of people of 60 years and older, who engaged in “active walking” for four months.

    They compared them with another group of people who only stretched over the same period of time. After testing both groups before and after the 4 month period, the walkers improved their memory and attention considerably more than the stretching group.

    So which exercises are best and how much do we have to exercise?

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    Turns out, it doesn’t really matter whether you run, swim, row or bike. What does matter is that you push yourself beyond your current abilities, keep doing more, keep getting better. Set yourself short term goals and keep pushing the goal posts.

    2. Sleep

    You need your sleep. The deeper the better. Sleep helps improve your procedural memory (how to do things, like how do I navigate my iPhone) and declarative memory (facts, like what’s my password). [3]

    Even short naps from 6 to 45 minutes have been shown to improve your memory. In one Harvard study, college students memorized pairs of unrelated words, memorized a maze and copied a complex form. All were tested on their work. Half were then allowed to take a 45 minute nap. They were then retested. Those who took a nap, got a boost in their performance. [4]

    Another study showed that getting REM (deep) sleep can increase your memory and mental performance by 33% to 73%. Getting a deep sleep helps the brain consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. However, the study also revealed that heart rate variability in deep sleep also contributed significantly to increased memory performance. [5]

    3. MIND Diet

    Healthy eating, particularly more dark colored fruit, vegetables and oily fish has been shown to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline.

    The MIND diet is proven to reduce the risk of dementia. It’s a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the low blood pressure DASH diet. [6]

    The study kept track of the diets of almost 1,000 older adults. They were followed for an average of 4½ years.

    The study concluded that “people whose diets were most strongly in line with the MIND diet had brains that functioned as if they were 7½ years younger than those whose diets least resembled this eating style.”

    The study also showed that people who followed the MIND diet in the study reduced their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in half.

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    So what does the MIND diet consist of? Lots of vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, whole grains and wine.

    4. Relax

    We all know that stress is bad for our health. It can raise our blood pressure, impact our immune system and interrupt our sleep. Stress also impairs our memory.

    When our body gets stressed, it releases cortisol into our blood stream, which can cause short and long term physical changes to the brain. While cortisol has sometimes been shown to cause increases in short term memory, it can actually decrease our long term recall memory.

    To help reduce the stress in your life, try relaxing with meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. Unplug–even for just a few hours. Stop checking your emails, social accounts and news. Release some endorphins with some exercise.

    Bottom line, the more anxious and stressed we are, the less clearly we think, the poorer our memory works.

    5. Continuous Learning

    The mind is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

    Research shows that learning can actually change the physical makeup of your brain. Not too long ago, we used to think that you were born with a fixed amount of brain cells, which declined with age. New research now shows that we can actually increase the number of brain cells we have throughout our life.

    Aside from staying physically active, learning new skills and studying can actually keep our brains healthier. Consider taking a continuing education class, studying a new language, learning a new instrument, playing new card games. [7]

    Studies show that the more complex the task, the more benefits for your mind. Simply showing up to class is not enough. You need to be actively engaged. Anything that forces you to focus and learn something new and get out of a rote routine will help you sharpen your mind and boost your memory.

    6. Stay Social

    The more deep and meaningful social connections you maintain, the more you protect your brain. Bottom line, the more friends you have, the more people you work with, the more you’re forced to use your brain.

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    Social isolation and loneliness are significant risks of dementia. Without interacting with others, our brains wilt. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression, physical and mental decline. [8]

    In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, seniors with a full social calendar did better on memory, reasoning, and processing speed tests. [9]

    What to do?

    Party! Seriously, get together with friends as often as possible. Have family dinners. Choose social activities or sports like tennis, golf, cards or go for walks with a friend. Bottom line have fun, build meaningful social relationships and stay connected. Not only will it make your mind sharper and your memory better, you’ll be happier, too!

    7. Wakeful Rest

    This one is getting harder and harder to do. In a world where we can’t sit on a bus, go up an elevator or go to the bathroom without our phones, doing absolutely nothing to distract our minds is becoming increasingly difficult.

    But, the results are in. Doing nothing is great for your memory. Quietly resting for 10 minutes, after you learn something will help you remember and help you create more detailed memories. [10]

    What we do minutes after we learn something new has a significant impact on how well we retain the new information. In another study, it didn’t matter what you did after you learned something new, as long as you weren’t distracted by outside factors. In other words, you could be thinking of your day, making a grocery list, or thinking of a story. In either case, wakeful rest for a period of 10 minutes helped the brain process and consolidate your memories so that you were better able to recall the information at a later date. [11]

    Conclusion

    You don’t have to spend a dime on cocktails and supplements promising a quick boost to your memory power. There is very little conclusive scientific evidence suggesting supplements will help improve the memories of healthy individuals–not for Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B, fish oils, Vitamin D, Folate or other supplements claiming they a secret formula.

    There are far cheaper and more effective ways to boost your memory: exercise, rest, eat well, learn, love, laugh and relax. Who wouldn’t want that prescription?

    More Resources About Boost Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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