YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health Spring 2017 - Page 6

GLORIA CABRERA, APD Gloria is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and qualified personal trainer, who loves food, nutrition, cooking, fitness, and helping others improve their health. She works in private practice helping clients with weight management, pre and post surgery weight loss, and chronic health conditions (e.g. diabetes, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome). Find out more about Gloria at www.nutritionsavvy.com.au FOUR - WEEK STRENGTH CHALLENGE Are you feeling strong? True strength encompasses mental, physical and metabolic strength. So how can you obtain and maintain such strength? Read on, as nutrition and exercise expert Gloria Cabrera explains. Mental Strength The brain is often considered one of the most complex machines on earth. It houses our thoughts, memories, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and our actions. The system of our mind can be divided up into conscious (current thoughts and feelings), subconscious (auto-pilot decisions and impressions), and unconscious (our mind’s reservoir of feelings, thoughts, desires, and memories). It is possible to boost our mental strength and, depending on your interests and desired outcomes, there are many ways to do this. Your brain consists of the left and the right hemispheres, and the different hemispheres manage mental tasks. Various techniques can be used to target these hemispheres and boost your mental strength. So in addition to brainteasers, puzzles and crosswords (which most of us have heard of already), here are a few other techniques to help keep your brain function strong and healthy: Mind mapping A mind map is a diagram that has one central key word or idea, with other ideas, tasks, words or other items arranged radially around it to show how they link. They are a great way to capture your thoughts and bring them to life visually, and in doing so you can help improve memory, creativity and problem solving. You can use mind maps for almost any thinking and learning task, including studying a subject, career planning or changing habits. Learning a foreign language If you’ve ever tried to learn a new language, you know it isn’t easy! But learning a new language is a complete mind power technique and can result in a process called ‘neurogenesis’ (neuron creation in the brain). Research suggests that your intelligence and memory can improve as you learn a new vocabulary and grammatical rules. 6 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE SPRING 2017 Writing This engages your creativity and doing this more often trains your brain to reach the creative state faster which, over time, can increase the power of your mind. Learning to play a new musical instrument We all enjoy listening to music but learning to play an instrument is a great way to improve mental ability. This is because the process creates new synapses (used to transport information) between neurons in the brain. Goal: Enhance your mental strength with these techniques. Start with one technique by first researching it well, to ensure it is something that you have time, ability and finances to be able to see through. Determine how you will start, and develop a plan to incorporate the technique into your schedule. Physical Strength and Fitness Physical strength doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen with consistent effort. If you’re not physically strong or already an avid exerciser, then make your goal to just start getting active on a regular basis. Here are some ways to improve your physical strength. If you’re inactive and not keen on exercise: • Start by working on your incidental