Use Brain or Lose Brain

Written By: David Burns

use it or lose itI was speaking with someone today about this topic of “use it or lose it” and I recounted a personal experience I had on a swing last year. I found myself at a park and thought nothing of getting on the swing. I started to increase the to and fro of the swing gaining increased height. I quickly began to feel dizzy by the changing horizon and the quick drop from a height. After getting my feet back on the ground it dawned on me that I had not been on a swing in probably over 20 years. My system was “atrophied”, weak, it could not deal with the challenge I was giving it.

Why could I go on swings for hours before? Why were the kids at the playground having no issue with the swing, or doing quick spins on the monkey bars and found only joy with spinning on the tire swing? It is pretty simple; they do it all the time. Their systems are being challenged everyday through play, recreational activities or sports. Not a lot of somersaults in my daily routine so of course I was symptomatic!

Our brains are kind of like our muscles. We need to provide our brain with exercise just like we do our muscles or they will “atrophy” and lose function. The reality for all of us is….if we don’t use it and than we challenge it beyond its regular stresses the system will fail. Now like muscle, there isn’t one exercise, or one ultimate piece of equipment to workout our brains. Like our bodies we have lots of “brain muscles” and they require different exercises, different stimulations, different levels of challenge.

I’ve been asked “Well, if I do these exercises and than I stop will I keep the same level of function?” Let me ask you a question. What in life does not need to be maintained? The answer; nothing. The alternative is to slowly let it all just slip away. There is a dear price to pay for lack of “brain maintanence”.

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