I just finished watching the PBS special The Art of Aging, The Limitless Potential of the Brain. Studies of centenarians that are living longer and more robust lifestyles has revealed that the common denominator among the active elderly is their use of their brains.

One of the subjects began learning Korean after 60 years of age and was 95 when he started learning to read and write Chinese. He begins each morning with a rubdown with a cold, wet towel and simple exercises for 5 minutes. Other than that, he makes sure that he is not sedentary during his day and jumps at any chance to learn.

He stays sharp at the daycare center for mentally challenged children he has run for the past 50 years by creating fun ways for children to learn.

And lest you think that these are a chosen few blessed with great genes and lifelong healthy habits… one subject, now 102, had failing health, dementia, and could barely walk at 85 years old. His family made a concerted effort to bring him out for daily walks. After gradually showing increased interest in life, he started running competively at age 99.

It turns out that very light exercise and brain usage work together to reverse the normal aging effects on the brain. This revitalization of brain tissue seems to have a direct correlation to longer life and of course, quality of life.

The bottom line is nothing new… get off your ass… shut off the TV… and when you do turn it on – make it something educational. Actually, scratch that – one of the tests showed that almost no oxygen travels to the brain during television watching while reading does send moderate amounts of cell-building oxygen. Writing seemed to be the best way to create the flow. Oooh… I just built some brain cells!

RATING 9 out of 10