Stay Young (Mentally and Physically) By Being a Novice and Always Moving
Point to ponder:
How often do you practice being a beginner?
This weekend I attended a portion of the Yoga Journal Conference in San Diego with iGnite Leader and friend, Amy Younkman. Amy leads our yoga and Power Pilates classes, has attended the Yoga Journal Conference for many years and always returns with excellent information. While we attended different classes, the one class that we took together was led by Bo Forbes and titled “Body Maps: The Road to Healthy Aging, Pain Modulation and Emotional Balance.” Bo teaches yoga throughout the world, and, interestingly, she is also a psychologist. She is a yogi-brainiac, and she specializes in integrating yoga, mindfulness, neuroscience, psychology and movement studies and she has worked with professional sports teams, corporations, healthcare professionals worldwide. Obviously, she is a wealth of fascinating knowledge, all of which I am so eager to share with you because as Amy and I did, you are going to love it!
First, in regard to the physical aging portion of her class, what science is finding out is that unlike what we may have once thought or been told, aging is NOT what causes the loss of muscle mass or connective tissue. Instead, the loss of connective tissue and muscle mass is what causes aging. This is great news!
As a refresher, the reason why connective tissue is important is because it connects, supports, binds, or separates all other tissues. And, muscles are necessary because muscles are the only tissue in the body that have the ability to contract and therefore move the other parts of the body. The muscular system’s second function is the maintenance of posture and body composition. Healthy connective tissue and muscle mass is what keeps us moving and physically thriving.
Next, as it relates to mental aging, emotional balance, memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression–neuroplasticity is the key. According to Dr. David Hellerstein in Psychology Today, neuroplasticity is the ongoing remodeling of brain structure (or the re-wiring of our brain map) and function that occurs throughout life. And, our day to day behavior and activity can have measurable effects on brain structure, function and health.
The key ingredient to healthy connective tissue is daily stretching and movement in every and all directions. The main ingredient for having muscle mass is strength, body weight and resistance training; and the primary ingredient for neuroplasticity is becoming an “expert beginner” and striving to participate in new movements and new experiences every day. As Bo reminded us, “The body and brain do not learn and grow from repetitive movement. Instead, they learn and grow from new experiences.” Therefore, the more we participate in life as a novice, feel incompetent and even engage in awkward and uncomfortable experiences, the healthier we are mentally and physically. This is awesome!
So, why is this the best and most exciting news ever?! Well, you can access all of this goodness through iGnite! As it relates to our summer challenge and trying all types of classes, when constantly re-wiring and expanding our brain map by means of being a beginner and trying new things, the scientific proven outcome is that we are energized and experience a boost in mood. Therefore, our emotional capacity is expanded and our spirit stays uplifted.
There has never been a better time to stretch beyond your comfort zones and get good at becoming a beginner. After all, it’s in the spirit of anti-aging, health, and living our best life!
Try one new thing this week.
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