Three seated body movements to help your brain health

October 19, 2018

One of the major injuries that the brain can suffer is alterations to its blood circulation, which we commonly call strokes. Although strokes have multiple causes and contributing factors, recent research has shown that accumulation of fat around the waist line was significantly associated with new strokes in women between 50 and 74 years of age. Interestingly, abdominal obesity measures were not independent predictors of new stroke in men from the same age groups.

One way to help your brain health is by incorporating more exercise into your life. But getting to the gym can be difficult, especially if you lack time or energy, have difficulty standing, or simply dislike the gym.

Instead, start small by integrating these three easy movements into your daily seated activities:

  1. When attempting to sit down, do it slowly by bending your knees and keeping your back as straight as possible. Ideally, your thigh would be at a 90-degree angle from your body, and 90 degrees to your legs. Sit at the edge of the chair first, then scoot to the back. This simple way of sitting down will not only help strengthen your abdominal muscles, but it will also help tone your back muscles. Of course, feel free to rise and sit as many times as you wish!
  2. When seated, cross your thighs alternating the right over the left and then the left over the right. This movement exercises the flimsy muscles at our lower abdomen.
  3. When seated for a while, simply bend forward, keeping your back as straight as possible. Your legs should be uncrossed, and your feet firmly planted on the ground. Let your arms hang loosely towards the ground. Your goal is to touch your knees with your forehead – don’t worry if you can’t do it at first try, it will get easier with repetition. Again, repeat as many times as you feel like.

These movements are small ways that you can begin incorporating activity into your life. That said, you won’t reduce your risk factors for stroke overnight.

Rather, these baby steps can get you started into the mentality of movement, to set your mind to move your body more frequently, more effectively, and at occasions you haven’t considered before. Hopefully, this will be your beginning to address your potential risk factors for stroke, thus protecting the health of your brain.

What else can you do to increase the amount and the frequency of your movements while doing what you always do? Learn tips at “Making the Best Lifestyle Choices for a Healthy Brain” on October 17. Details below!

Register for Iona's Brain Health & You Forum

Iona’s Take Charge/Age Well Academy is offering a FREE forum for older adults and caregivers on brain health. Join us for one, two, or all three sessions covering critical topics on a healthy brain like lifestyle choices, understanding memory loss, and work/life balance when caring for someone with dementia. Learn more and register for one, two, or all three presentations here. 

By Dr. Joana Rosario, MD

Dr. Joana Rosario has had an unusually extensive personal caregiving experience with multiple loved ones with dementia, which is ongoing today. This rich personal experience is allied to her professional experience as a neurologist specialized in dementia. Today, she makes it her mission to share her knowledge, especially to help caregivers who are struggling to optimize the care of their loved ones without sacrificing their careers.