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Brain Fitness
This page is primarily designed to help you achieve and maintain Brain Fitness.  To help you in that quest, the basics of how to help your brain reach its full potential are laid out below.  There are also downloads from the most recent presentation on this topic available if you would like to have a hard copy of the most recent update of information presented on this page.

Downloads:

To access the following downloads, please click on the links below.
Brain Fitness Training Handout          Brain Fitness Resources Handout         Market Bag Pattern

NUTRITION

Dietary Guidelines

  • Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans Website: http://198.102.218.57/dietaryguidelines/dga2000/document/frontcover.htm
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Website: www.choseMyPlate.gov  Offers food patterns designed for the general public ages 2 and over. They are not therapeutic diets for specific health conditions. MyPlate offers you a personal eating plan with the foods and amounts that are right for you. SuperTracker offers a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan and a detailed assessment of your food intake and physical activity level. Advice offered to help you make smart choices from every food group and your balance between food and physical activity, get the most nutrition out of your calories and stay within your daily calorie needs.
  • American Dietetic Association website:  www.eatright.org
Snack Options
  • Low fat yogurt (buy it plain, sweeten it yourself with a little honey, some fruit, fruit preserves or a dab of apple butter.)
  • Protein bars: not those designed to be meal replacements.  Look for 150-200 calorie bars with at least 4 grams of protein and four or more grams of fiber.
  • Liquids and smoothies: Skim decaf latte, skim cappuccino, 60-100 cal soup, homemade smoothie with ice, skim milk or plain yogurt and a cup of berries (store-bought ones tend to be high in calories and sugar.) 
  • 100 calorie snack packs: These are controlled portions, and 100 calories of junk is better than 500 calories of junk but often they lead you to eat more because you’re not satisfied with them.

Supplements

  • FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Website: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/supplmnt.html
  • Antioxidants: A USDA study analyzed the antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods. Researchers tested over 100 foods. Here is a ranked list of the top 20 fruits, vegetables and nuts:
1. Small red bean (dried), ½ cup                 11. Strawberry, 1 cup
2. Wild blueberry, 1 cup                                    12. Red delicious apple, 1
3. Red kidney bean (dried), ½ cup                      13. Granny Smith apple, 1
4. Pinto bean, 1/2 cup                                      14. Pecan, 1 ounce
5. Blueberry (cultivated), 1 cup                          15. Sweet cherry, 1 cup
6. Cranberry, 1 cup (whole)                               16. Black plum, 1
7. Artichoke (cooked hearts), 1 cup                    17. Russet potato, 1 cooked
8. Blackberry, 1 cup                                         18. Black bean (dried), 1/2 cup
9. Prune, 1/2 cup                                             19. Plum, 1
10. Raspberry, 1 cup                                        20. Gala apple, 1

PHYSICAL EXERCISE

American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Guidelines
Website: www.acsm.org/health+fitness/index.htm

American Heart Association
Start! is the American Heart Association’s groundbreaking national campaign that calls on all Americans and their employers to create a culture of physical activity as an important part of taking control of your health.
Website: www.americanheart.org/start


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Physical Activity Recommendations
Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/recommendations/index.htm

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
Website:
http://www.fitness.gov/fitness.htm
EMOTIONAL BALANCE

Socialization:
Volunteer Opportunities Website: http://www.volunteermatch.org/
Relaxation/Stress Management Strategies

Progressive muscle relaxation
Squeeze your right hand into a fist as hard as you can.
Hold the fist and pay attention to how uncomfortable the tension is in your fist.
Now, slowly release your fingers extending them one by one and notice how the tension leaves your fingers.

Deep Breathing:
Take a deep breath through your nose.
Let the air fill your stomach and chest slowly and fully.
Hold the breath for several seconds.
Slowly exhale the air through your mouth.
 
Stress Reduction Information Sources:
Stress: How to Cope Better With Life’s Challenges, Website: www.familydoctor.org/167.xml
Mountain State Centers for Independent Living, Understanding and Dealing with Stress: Website: http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/stress-intro.html
WebMD: Stress Management Health Center- Website: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-topic-overview

Sleep and Hygiene Tips:
Go to bed at a regular time each night.
Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, temperature, noise, light
Turn the alarm clock so you can’t see it
Use the bed for sleep, not reading or t.v.
Don't lay in bed when you are not sleeping.
Give yourself 20 to 25 minutes to try and get to sleep in your bed.
If you cannot fall asleep after that time period, get out of the bed and leave the bedroom. 
Do a non-fulfilling activity-read a non-engaging book, sort laundry.
The same 20 t
o 25 minute rule holds and you may need to get up several times.
The point with this exercise is to condition your body and brain to sleep in the bed, not worry in the bed!
BRAIN EXERCISES
A.K.A: Fun and Games

Learning Games
http://www.nationalgeographic.com

Free Online Games: General

AARP Games – Features free online puzzles, word games, mind games, card games and other interactive games. The site includes clear instructions with few advertising interruptions.  Website: http://www.aarpmagazine.org/games/

Cartoon Network –A Network (commercial) site that includes free games.
Website: http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/games/index.html

Pogo.com – Offers free games such as whomp, solitaire, dominoes, chess, and more. Registration is required to play games on this site. It is quick, easy, and worthwhile to register because of the wide variety of games.
Website: http://www.pogo.com/home/home.jsp?sls=2&site=pogo

All Games Free – Offers a wide variety of free games including arcade games, card games, puzzle and word games, sports games, and interactive trivia games. Registration is fast and free and once you're registered you will be able to create a custom "my games page," with all of your favorite games.   Website: http://www.allgamesfree.com/

Free Arcade – Features more than 150 arcade games such as puzzle games, board games, and card games without required logins or sign ups.  Website: http://www.freearcade.com/

PopCap Games – A commercial site featuring both single player and networked games. The single player games include fun, speed- based games like Big Money and Diamond Mine as well as puzzle solvers like Atomica and Mummy Maze. To play, click on a game and it will take a few minutes to load.  Website: http://www.popcap.com/

Playsite – Offers networked gaming; you can play games with people from all over the world. Choices include board games (Monopoly, Chess, Backgammon, and more), card games (Bridge, Hearts, Spades, Euchre, and more), word games, (Scrabble, Tangleword), classic arcade games (Asteroids, Centipede), and more. Registration is required.
Website: http://www.iwin.com/

Play Free Online Games – Offers a great selection of free games, including adventure games, arcade games, board games, cards, sports, puzzles, word games, etc. Some you will need to sign up for, others just click and play.
Website: http://www.playfreeonlinegames.co.uk/

MSN Games
– Provides a good selection of board and card games that are especially easy to access and play. Provides helpful hints for the games, if needed, and features good game descriptions and the ability to browse by genre.
Website: http://zone.msn.com/en/root/default.htm

Yahoo Games- http://games.yahoo.com/

Zeeks! Games – Offers all sorts of games, with few advertisers. Some games may be appropriate to play with your  children or grandchildren.  Website: http://games.zeeks.com/games.php

Free Online Games: Specialized Games
Merriam-Webster Online – A commercial site, offers a new word game every day. Features four types of games based on words, definitions, and etymology. Includes an archive of two months of games. To play, click on "play today's word game" and wait a few moments for the game to load.  Website: http://www.merriam-webster.com/game/

Online JigSaw Puzzles:
Some sites include capability to determine difficulty level of puzzle, be timed doing a puzzle and compare to others, and have daily puzzle e-mailed to you.
http://www.castlib.dk/free-online-jigsaw-puzzle-and-puzzle-games.php
http://www.freejigsawpuzzles.com/
http://www.liessmit.nl/html/puzzles.htm
http://www.jigsawplanet.com/
http://www.jigzone.com/

Computer Software:

Language Software:
commercial software to deal with speech and language recovery after stroke or other type of brain injury.  Website: http://www.bungalowsoftware.com

Brain Performance Software:


Think Fatser Focus Better Remember More
InSight
5 visual processing and memory exercises
Strengthens your brain’s visual processing to help you:

  • Speed up thinking and sharpen focus
  • Remember where you put your glasses or parked your car
  • React faster while playing tennis, driving or riding your bike
  • Notice more out of your peripheral vision

Brain Fitness Program
6 auditory processing and memory exercises
Strengthen your brain’s auditory processing to help you:
  • Improve your memory by 10+ years
  • Easily find words on the tip of your tongue
  • Follow and participate in conversations more fluidly
  • Remember names of people you’ve just met

DriveSharp
2 visual exercises for driving safety
2 visual exercises cut car accident risk by 50%
  • React quicker and protect yourself from dangerous drivers
  • Stop faster to avoid unexpected obstacles
  • Feel confident driving at night and in stressful conditions
  • Clearly track moving cars, pedestrians & bikes at a busy intersection
Dr. Cheryle Sullivan's Personal Testimony:
I became interested in exercises specifically designed for brain training after seeing a program on public television about Post Science. I had read about the benefits of word games and activities on brain fitness, but hadn’t known about specific products developed and researched to help improve brain function.

As a person who believes in evidence based medicine, I was excited by the fact that dozens of studies published in prestigious journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association show that the programs are uniquely effective. Posit Science’s programs are proven to speed up and sharpen the brain. This leads to the ability to think faster, focus better, and remember more. 

I have personally started with the InSight program, since some of my visual processing issues were frustrating me.  I like the idea that I undergo a pre-test to get a baseline, then get updates along the way on my progress.  I also like the timed practice sessions, as I tend to get engrossed and go on for a long time. Forty minutes of training is a good amount, more might lead me to being tired for the rest of my day and make me less productive.  The exercises are easy to understand, fun and I can see improvements in my functioning each time I do a session.


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