Dr Diana Karamacoska
Exercise your body & mind (for free)
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain, at any age! It has so many benefits, from stimulating brain cell generation to improving your mood and sleep; but to reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia, researchers recommend two things: (1) doing daily exercise for at least 30 minutes; and (2) mixing it up with aerobic, resistance, and mobility training. So here's a list of free exercise initiatives to get you moving!
Join Nike's Online Clubs
Nike's Running Club and Training Club apps allow you to build a program that considers your current physical activity levels, availability, and access to equipment. Each session is guided by a video and an instructor's voice to help build your confidence with each move or run. They also have an online community and get everyone together for courses in cities all over the world! I could go on about these apps forever but you've just got to try it for yourself and see what works for you.
This YouTube channel has revolutionised my workouts and is my go-to for inspiration, revitalisation and fun! There are so many categories to choose from, with varying duration and levels, that will keep you on your toes and coming back for more. The best part is, you can do it all from the comfort of your home. It's perfect for those rainy days in (or if you're self-isolating during this COVID-19 pandemic). They also have an online club you can join by clicking here: Active by POPSUGAR.
There are plenty of outdoor activities we can do to get mental and physical health benefits (think bushwalking, swimming, gardening, cycling, tennis, and running). Just being outside with nature can re-energise you, calm your mind, and give you a Vitamin D hit.
Now if you're looking for stretching, yoga or tai-chi exercises, Nike's Training Club and POPSUGAR Fitness have got you covered. Check out the links to these in the above section.
What about meditation and mindfulness? This can be really hard to do on your own so most services will charge a fee for accessing guided sessions. Calm is one service that offers free access to short sessions on YouTube and through Samsung Health on Samsung phones. I use it every day, either right before bed or after a cool-down from a workout. Give it a go - I'm a big believer in regularly training your body AND mind.
Make It Challenging
Whether you're new to exercise, have been training for years, or are looking to get back into a workout regime, monitor your progress. Your brain loves a good challenge! This is what can initiate neuroplastic changes to rewire your brain and restore functioning. So if you're finding your routine easy, or are losing interest, it's time to switch it up!