“The brain can grow and adapt, this is neuroplasticity” John J. Ratey. M.D.
Brain plasticity is the unique quality of every brain to adapt as long as you live, good news for aging gracefully. Being an “ageless” warrior or beauty happens when you find BALANCE. We stay fit and agile by paying daily attention to balancing our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs with our family, work and play life.
Balance is a mind-body skill. Start by physically developing good balance in your own body. Imagine yourself doing “Yoda” training, remember the wise old Jedi?Challenge yourself by doing some habitual acts in new ways like brushing your teeth and /or opening doors with your non-dominant hand.
When was the last time you rose up on your tip toes or balanced on one leg? Have you closed your eyes and tried to maintain your balance for one minute? This is an ancient Qigong exercise, your age does not matter. Find a safe place where you won’t fall, and try to maintain balance on one leg until you can stay upright with your eyes closed for 40 to 60 seconds. It may take a few days as the proprioceptors in your brain need some time to readjust without a horizon line to reference.
Modern research has proven that Qigong and Tai Chi are effective ways to improve balance as well as build strength and flexibility. Try doing Qigong stretches, like Ankle Circles or Hip Openers to keep these joints flexible and exercise your balance. When standing in line I may raise up on my toes 10 times, I’ll do 3 sets of these if the line is long. Working your leg muscles is also good for your circulation. Most Qigong exercises can be done any place, any time without tools or props. Best of all, Qigong complements any other exercise or practice you may already do: water aerobics, spinning, dancing, yoga, etc.
Although we may look and feel the same through our middle years, changes are always happening inside our bodies and minds. Healthy aging begins in these years. Everyone hopes to reach old age, but as it approaches, many complain about it or fear it. Yet we all begin aging right at birth. Does age come upon us any faster when we’re infants than as we mature? Surely not, one needs only witness the profound changes of newborn to infant to toddler to small child.
So be present, feel grateful and ENJOY your time NOW whatever your chronological age is!