01/05/2015 05:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Best Way to Keep Your Brain Young

Learn! Unlearn and re-learn. Keep moving. Then repeat the process. Until you die!

Alvin Toffler the futurist, said that "intelligence in the future will not be measured by the ability to read and write. It will be measured by the ability to learn, un-learn and re-learn."

I recently read an article about a Huffington Post blogger called Phyllis Sues who is 91. At 50 she had her own fashion label, she became a musician and learned Italian in her 70s; took tango lessons in her 80s as well as trapeze lessons; and walked into her first yoga class at 85.

If you visit Growing Bolder radio station Facebook page you can get this picture of her and listen to an interview with her.


I want to be like this! What about you?

Sue has done all the right things to keep her brain and body active and young. It has been known for a long time that change and the new learning that comes about through change keeps your brain rewiring. When you learn or relearn, you rewire the brain and use up some of the spare neurons sitting there!

It's critical that you learn something totally different -- something that you have not developed skill in -- yet. I started learning the harp when I was about 54. As I could not even read music, it is a huge challenge -- but I love it. My brain tires very quickly but my spirit loves it!

We have a tennis court at home -- which we have only used twice in four years, but my plan was mostly for our 80s, to keep us fit and active. Because what applies to your brain applies to your body!

Use it or lose it, I learned was true, when I worked as a physical therapist. To keep your joints moving well and muscles strong, you have to keep moving and strengthening them. Yoga is fabulous for that; so is Qi Gong, which is what I do. Tennis will be an extra!

When you see older people who are really flexible, it's not that they are lucky! There may be some genetic component but the bulk of it is how much they moved their joints throughout their lives.

How much do you move all your joints? And in what directions? How much of your day do you sit -- or stand still, in sedentary work or relaxation? How much do you actively move those joints and exercise and get your heart rate going?

Stop watching the TV so much and move! Take up yoga, QI Gong, walking or even the tango -- anything that makes you move. Become conscious of your joints and what they are doing -- or not!

Pick some things that you would like to learn. Things about which you currently know nothing. Science? Music? Languages? Take up a new skill you have always admired -- carpentry, or metal work or sewing.

We live in such an amazing world and are given amazing bodies and minds, which the majority of us treat with great disrespect. Your body is your temple -- it houses your spirit -- take good care of both!

Learn, unlearn and relearn, keep moving all your joints and strengthen your muscles - and watch your world transform!


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