FeLions cheerleaders Brittany Livramento and Kayla Bennett emphasized to me, “You are never too young or old to start.” Such a true statement as none of us are getting any younger, just wiser! As we age, our risk increases for having cognitive health implications. Did you know that you can take action now to help your brain’s ability to sustain both your independence and quality of life in the future?
In regards to our brain health, not all outcomes are controllable. In fact, according to researchers for the World Alzheimer Report, every three seconds worldwide there are 9.9 million new dementia cases. What we can do, however, is work to positively influence what is in our control. Cue, your cognitive reserve. Think of this as a toolbox for your brain. The more tools you are able to add to your collection of resources, the greater your capacity will be to both function and cope with adversity.
You can enhance and build up the internal resources your brain will need to maintain its’ ability to function efficiently, process thoughts, make decisions, multitask, organize and store information. Exercise, lifelong bilingualism, participation in a variety of social and intellectual activities, as well as, pursuing a higher education and a professional occupation all contribute to building your cognitive reserve.
When you exercise at a moderate-to-vigorous-intensity, as well as, when you build a notably higher cardiorespiratory fitness level, your brain will experience positive improvements to its structure and ability to function. It also influences protective brain mechanisms linked to memory. Familiarizing yourself with the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines will help you understand how much physical activity you should participate in to achieve general health benefits.
Are you looking for inspiration to help you get started? I interviewed two cheerleaders from our very own Canadian Football League, BC Lions – FeLions Dance Team. These particular women followed their passion to become professional dancers, which is an activity that also positively contributes to their cognitive health!
FeLions Cheerleaders keeping strong in mind and body
Livramento and Bennett‘s words of wisdom above, are spot on with the research, which has found that dance can provide benefits regardless of age. According to research reported in BMC Public Health, dance prompts sensorimotor rhythmic activity that integrates a positive triad of physical, cognitive and social components. Overall the research found that older adults who participate in dance improve measures of balance, mobility, and social engagement. More specifically, according to research recently reported in the Journal – Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience, dance can even improve spatial memory, which is another cognitive domain!
Livramento, also spent some time in Montreal inspiring young women and teaching them about self worth, empowerment and dance. She powerfully reiterated that, “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.” Bennett, exemplifies this statement – she puts her mind to being positive, energetic, staying active and dance training, all while being a mother.
Empower yourself and choose to take ownership over positively impacting your brain health by building up your cognitive reserve. Bennett and Livramento want to inspire you to remember that: “You are never too young or old to start,” and, “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
Your future self will thank you.