Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how our brains start to age and lose the capacity to keep even the most inane conversations afloat by about the age of 45. It used to be thought, in our fog of denial, that this wouldn’t happen until much later in life. Then, that changed to warnings about hitting sixty, and being prepared to forget where we put our car keys. It seems we are becoming obsolete earlier and earlier, according to the scientists whom we pay to tell us bad news.
Well, I am here to say I have always been in danger of forgetting where I put my keys. In fact, in my youth, when I had all my brain cells intact, I forgot a time or two where I had even parked the car. Having the keys safe in my hand at that point, was moot.
Not only that, but when you are busily engaged in raising kids, holding down a full-time job, running a household, paying all the bills and remembering appointments, and perhaps even taking care of your own parents at the same time, you are entitled to forget you even own a car. I have to wonder who these scientists tested for memory and sharp thinking. The scientists themselves are at the lab all day, and probably have as little to do with the actual raising of their kids as a salamander.
Earlier this year, I finished a Master’s degree with straight A’s. I had to write 12-plus page papers, and read stuff no one in their right mind would ever read voluntarily, and make some sense of it. Papers written by academics enamored of their own words and selves, are not always easy to understand. If my brain was slowly turning to mush with my advancing years, I doubt I would have done so well. Therein lies a lesson for us all; keeping your brain active learning new things, and challenging it with difficult tasks, is essential to being able to remember where you put your keys. Especially if you have to drive to class.
I also regularly engage in activities that make me perspire excessively. Exercise not only empties the lymph system, and brings red blood cells filled with oxygen to brains and organs, but weight-lifting, which I also do three times weekly, encourages the human growth hormone. The human growth hormone, as it’s name would imply, runs rampant in the young and the growing. It is possible to replicate it’s functions through building muscle mass, and making sure you get all your amino acids. Not only that, but it seems that even regular moderate exercise such as walking, can keep your brain from shrinking.
It is easy to check these things against your own experiences. Lift weights for ten or twenty minutes, going through two sets each of exercises for the arms, the core, and the legs. Add in cardio,which I do on my stationary bike while I do my arm sets, and your brain will feel as sharp as any fifth-grader afterward, who coincidentally, knows zilch about the Cuban missile crisis, Elvis songs, or how to get the best price from a car dealer.