Use it or Lose it is a common quote, but does it have a connection with fitness for seniors?
A client brought me an article on dementia from the AARP Bulletin for January-Februray 2015. They said:
Some studies show that physical exercise may prevent dementia in old age, because it seems to increase development of new neurons in the brain. Since physical exercise also has significant benefits for cardiovascular health and weight control, getting up and about on a regular basis might be called a no-brainer both for physical and mental health purposes.
We always heard that you couldn’t grow new brain cells, but apparently that’s not true. It seems that both mental and physical exertion stimulate neural development.
I would add emotional exertion to that list. While some studies have found that playing Bingo can improve cognition, I believe that thinking about something you are passionate about will yield far more benefits. If you are passionate about education, your faith, animal welfare, the environment, or manatees, spend your time deepening your understanding of your passion. The emotional energy involved will spur you on, and you may end up getting involved physically as well.
So use it or lose it!