In the balance - Food for the Brain

In the balance

Exercise isn’t just about building up ‘cardio’ and ‘resistance’ strength. Balance and generating vital energy is also important too.

A recent meta-analysis suggested that exercise involving coordination are the best at improving cognitive function.

For instance, one study showed that participants who did dance-based exercise saw greater improvements in the size of the hippocampus, that important brain centre for both memory and stress. But even something like playing with your dog, children or grand-children counts.

Exercises that combine resistance and coordination movements include pilates, yoga and t’ai chi or chi gung. These last three are designed to also generate ‘vital’ energy called Chi, Ki or Prana. While this isn’t yet measurable there’s plenty of evidence of health benefits in addition to what would be expected through the lens of ‘physical exercise’. As Einstein said “’Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted”. Our body is, after all, a complex regenerative organism not just a machine.

These exercises are excellent for building strength of muscles not normally used as well as coordination, and engage the brain, heart and breath. Anyone can do them at some level so why not try them out? Find a class near you appropriate for your level of fitness and give it a go. How do you know you won’t like it if you’ve never tried it?