We know that exercise is important to brain health, and no one works harder to spread that message than Dr. Wendy Suzuki. Her TED talk on the topic has been viewed more than 10 million times.
I met her at a brain health event, and she told me the question she gets asked more than any other is, “What’s the least amount of exercise I can do and still get that benefit?”
You don’t want the least amount of benefit you can get. You want the maximum.
Well, OK, maybe for the average person that’s OK. But not for someone with mild cognitive impairment. You don’t want the least amount of benefit you can get. You want the maximum benefit. And that’s what I want to talk about today. Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
To Go Cogno is to defend your cognition in a way that gives you the best possible chance of slowing, halting or reversing whatever cognitive decline you’re experiencing.
It’s the basis of my book, “I Want My Mind Back,” and toward the end of that book, I break it down into the seven basic concepts that I call the Go Cogno Credo. I’m doing a series of videos to talk a little bit more about these concepts.
This is part four, where I talk about the second “O” in Go Cogno. It stands for: Optimize for maximum benefit.
Whatever you undertake, you want to go all in.
There’s so much you can do to defend your cognition and dramatically reduce your risk of progressing to dementia, and particularly these things.
What you choose to do is up to you. But whatever you undertake, you want to go all in.
This is one of the biggest differences between the way the average person approaches brain health, and the way someone with cognitive impairment needs to approach it.
You need to be more aggressive. You need to leverage it for all it’s worth.
Not right away. It’s fine to begin at a more moderate level and work your way up. But begin with the end in mind, and plan to get there.
Take meditation, for instance. The ideal is 20 minutes a day. If you’re new to meditation, it’s OK to start out with 2 minutes a day, or 2 minutes every other day. But you want to gradually add minutes and get to that ultimate goal.
It’s not just what they did. It’s how they optimized it.
Do the same for anything else you decide to work on. You don’t have to try everything. But whatever you put your oomph into, give your brain the maximum benefit it has to offer.
That’s how you defend your cognition. That’s the way I have seen people successfully halt or in some cases even reverse their MCI. It’s not just what they did. It’s how they optimized it.
Thanks for joining me today. I’ll back again next week, to talk about how to choose what you work on, and why it’s best to go with your gut on that. See you next Sunday. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.
The Go Cogno Credo
G — Grind it out: What “superpower” helps people halt memory loss? Sheer relentlessness
O — Orient yourself toward action: Why the best medicine for MCI may not be a pill
C — Compound your way to a better outcome Want to save your brain? Open a cognitive ‘savings account’
O — Optimize for maximum benefit
G — Go with your gut
N — Know your numbers Why what’s good for the heart is good for the brain
O — Overindulge in self-care