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Brain Neuroplasticity and Exercise by Kimberly Walker, E.P.

Updated: Mar 1

Did you know that research shows that we can influence our brains neuroplasticity by what we choose to do with our time? What is Brain Neuroplasticity? It is the ability of your brain cells to change in response to intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Finding things that challenge us that are new to us and out of our comfort zone such as, learning a new language, hiking, playing an instrument improves our brain’s health.

Doing things that having meaning or importance to us that really matter to us personally are more rewarding for the brain. Last year I hiked the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in one day with my husband and friends. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was challenging but meant a great deal to me because it merged my love of movement, travel, socializing and nutrition. It required scheduling and following through with training hikes, research, shopping and commitment. Accomplishing this hard goal reminded me of what I am capable of and surely improved my brain neuroplasticity.

Having a plan, a schedule and routine helps us to accomplish these tasks on a regular basis. I like having intentions, goals and incentives to keep me going and motivated along the way. Using a shared family calendar so others in my household know what is happening and can support me in my goals has really helped our family. Most importantly, is to then make it happen by following through; scheduling the gym appointment or class, setting the doctor’s appointment, planning the hike, texting your workout buddy.

Check in with yourself regularly and find out if you have been following your plan or need to revise it. It is important to change the plan to fit your needs and the needs of your loved ones. Maybe you thought it would work to exercise at 6 am but the schedule is just too tight or now your child needs a ride at that time or is waking up in the middle of the night. Be flexible and modify the plan as needed. If you move the plan to a new time of day, do all in your power to follow through with it.

Most importantly we must be very patient with ourselves we all have set backs and lapses, that is part of being human. As you regularly adjust your schedule and refocus on aligning your actions with your values you will be able to make time for the things that matter most in your life.

In the end challenging yourself, having a plan, checking in with the plan and being patient with yourself will pay off and have big dividends in your brain health over time.

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