Happy Wellfie Wednesday! This week is brought to you by Alyssa (@kuhnalyssa_spt).
Recently, research is beginning to dive further into the connection cognitive performance has on mobility. The question is can your problem solving/processing efficiency affect your ability to safely complete everyday tasks? The answer is a resounding, Yes!
Many studies have actually found a link between fall risk in older adults and how well they are able to think and process information! If you think about it, it makes sense. During everyday tasks, we are almost always moving while thinking about something or interacting with someone- whether its walking while having a conversation, mixing ingredients while reading a recipe, running while listening to a podcast, walking while reading a sign, etc. Rarely are we ever just moving or just thinking.
As we age, our ability to juggle these two tasks can become a little more difficult. Fall risk in community dwelling older adults can increase if cognition becomes impaired, i.e. not being able to process information fast enough, difficulty with multi-tasking, and difficulty planning and strategizing movements. Cognitive stimulation tends to decrease as our lives get simpler- we retire from our jobs, experience a potential alteration of our family roles as children move away, and unfortunately, a common downtrend in physical activity may be adopted. This is why we must continue to challenge our brains as we age!
How can we continue to do this?
- Recreational non-contact sport involvement: ping pong, tennis, basketball, biking, Tai Chi, yoga, aquatic based classes, trail hiking to encourage movement and strategy.
- Virtual based reality games (Wii, Kinect for Xbox One): challenges your balance and reaction time when responding to a visual stimulus.
- Pick up a new hobby: card games, knitting, crocheting, playing an instrument, painting, learning to dance, etc. Even though they might not involve much movement, you are improving your ability to plan and strategize!
- Frequent social gatherings: meeting a friend for a walk in the park, attending exercise classes with friends, joining a book club, meeting up with friends for coffee, etc. Interaction with other people is great way to keep you on top of your mental game while having fun. Interaction with movement is even better!
- Completion of puzzles, number games (Sudoku), crosswords, etc: Many of these things can be very challenging and can help maintain your ability to process information and pay attention to selected information, both of which are handy in real life situations too!
Bottom line: Decreasing cognitive function due to lack of stimulation/challenge can lead to consequences and difficulty with completion of everyday tasks as we age. It is so important to exercise your mind as well as your body to continue to lead a long and healthy life! Now is a great time to start!
So Exercise that Brain! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio, @Eric_in_AmERICa, @AaronPerezPT, @DianaKlatt, @kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!
- WW Crew