Back to School-Forward to Health!

Author:  Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA
Founder & CEO
Age-Friendly Business®

The days are getting shorter, and the back to school ads are filling the airwaves. Fresh starts, new learnings, and yet to be explored challenges are no longer the exclusive domain of the young.  More and more, life-long learning is shifting from the ‘nice-to-do’ to the ‘must-continue-to-do’ column of our life.

Before you rush to invest in the latest online brain games, you might decide instead to simply take up a new hobby!  Could it be that simple?  Apparently so.

Dr. Denise Park, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas decided to put this to the test. 

Dr. Park recruited 200 volunteers and assigned them to 3 different groups.  During a 3-month period, each group spent 15 hours per week with assigned activities.  They were given memory tests at the beginning and end of the research period.

Group 1 took up new hobbies such as quilting and photography (including use of photoshop.)

Group 2 participated in social events such as watching movies together and reminiscing about past vacations.

Group 3 worked quietly on their own at home, listening to music or playing simple games or puzzles.

Dr. Park’s findings revealed that not all activities are created equal when it comes to cognitive improvement.  Yes, social engagement is essential to quality of life and even longevity, but if you want to enhance those brain cells and improve your memory – you’ll have to take on new and challenging activities.  Moreover, the more challenging the activity, the better the results!

With Dr. Park’s study, the group that showed the most significant improvement in memory was Group #1 – the group learning new hobbies with new challenges.  Within that group, the photography participants (who also needed to learn new computer skills) showed the greatest gains overall.   Furthermore, the improvements were still evident a full year later.

Stimulating brain cells does not have to be repetitive or tedious.  Have fun.  Explore a new interest, take on a new hobby, acquire new skills, and learn something you didn’t know before.  Not only will you stretch and grow, you’ll remember why you did it!

Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA

Founder & CEO

Age-Friendly Business®

 

Grilled Chicken Barley Bowl

This recipe makes 4 servings, Prep 20 minutes, Cook 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pearl or pot barley
  • 2 cups (500 mL) baby arugula
  • 4 carrots, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 red peppers, quartered
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb/454 g)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil, divided
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) balsamic vinegar

Directions

In a small saucepan, cover barley with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until barley is tender but still chewy. Drain well and toss with arugula; set aside.

Spray carrots and peppers with cooking spray; set aside.

Toss chicken breasts with 1 tsp (5 mL) of the oil and chili powder to coat.

Heat grill to medium-high heat and grill carrots, peppers, and chicken breasts for about 7 for the vegetables and about 12 minutes for the chicken. Turn occasionally until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove to cutting board.

Slice carrots and peppers; toss with remaining oil and vinegar. Divide barley mixture among 4 bowls and top with vegetables.

Slice chicken and place over top to serve.

Nutritional Info Per Serving (1 of 4) – Calories 280, Protein 26 g, Total fat 6 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Cholesterol 60 mg, Carbohydrates 33 g, Fibre 5 g, Sugars 7 g, Added sugars 0 g, Sodium 120 mg, Potassium 700 mg

Recipe by Emily Richards (PH Ec.) Reprinted with permission from The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

 

Staying Young

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Henry Ford

You may also like…

Building a Legacy That Goes Beyond Material Wealth

Building a Legacy That Goes Beyond Material WealthHave you ever wondered what lasting legacy you will leave behind for future generations? While accumulating material wealth can be significant, passing on values and characteristics that will stand the test of time is...

Sleep Better to Live Longer

Sleep Better toLive LongerIt has long been accepted that we need good nutrition and regular exercise to contribute toward our health and longevity. Did you know that quality sleep was just as important? We always think about sleep as being restive – and this is true....

Cognitive Reserve – Can We Beat Biology?

Cognitive Reserve –Can We Beat Biology?We know we are living longer — but are we living better?  Most would agree that it is not just about adding more years to our life story, it is about making sure those years enriching and rewarding. Too often, though, we know of...

Power of Older Workers Part 2

Part 2Power of Older Workers The previous Maturity Matters Newsletter alerted us to the exodus of a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce leaving many organizations.  More than half of their management teams and employees are positioned to leave as Baby Boomers...

Power of Older Workers – Part 1

Part 1Power of Older Workers In praise of wine, cheese, and older workers – why we need to woo, engage and retain maturing employees. The majority of maturing workers are there because they want to be, and increasing numbers need to be there.  They are reliable,...

Tax Time Scams – Time for a Review and Update

The phone rings. You pick it up and the caller identifies himself as being from the government, contacting you on a problem with your taxes. Your heart races. You begin to wonder what could possibly be wrong? You picture investigations, fines, and trouble!...

National Advance Care Planning Day is April 16th

Keeping Our Voice – Part 2 – Advance Care Planning Life Happens….Be Ready.  This compelling theme underscores the significance of our National Advance Care Planning Day held annually on April 16. When we cannot speak for ourselves – who will speak for us, and what do...

0 Comments