Skip to main content
Home » Wellness » Brain Fitness: It’s Just as Important as Body Fitness
Empowering Aging Canadians

Brain Fitness: It’s Just as Important as Body Fitness

Senior men playing basketball
Senior men playing basketball

Patricia Clark

Executive Director, Active Aging Canada

“Where did I leave my keys?” is a common cry among us. But the more important question is, “Do I know what to do with my keys once I find them?” These questions point out the difference between normal aging and diseases such as dementia. That critical difference is reassuring to most of us. 

As we age, certain body functions slow down. Some changes are inevitable for most of us, such as grey hair, and less of it. As our body fitness declines, must our brain fitness as well? 

The body and brain are interconnected, so what’s good for the body is also good for the brain — and vice-versa. Light to moderate physical activity is one of the best protectors against the loss of both body and brain function. In addition, a heart-healthy diet is also a brain-healthy diet and may help to preserve memory and thinking skills.

The brain can ‘re-wire’ itself — a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity — which comes into play when you must pay close attention and focus on learning a new task, such as learning a new computer skill, another language, or how to play a new instrument. 

By combining physical activity, intellectual stimulation, and social interaction with a good diet, you are building a ‘cognitive reserve’ — kind of like an RRSP for the brain. This may well delay the onset of the normal symptoms of aging.

Next article