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Therapy and Mental Health

Exercising Your Body? No, It's Your Brain!

Valentino Therapy's insight:

Rebuild Your Brain? Cognitive impairment ruins a life well lived. Or, even well planned.

I was reviewing some fascinating research by Michelle Voss from the psych department at the U of Iowa and saw some interesting data that could profoundly affect millions of people – if put into action.

It seems that regular, moderate exercise can help prevent, or even improve, cognitive deficits and enhance the workings of the brain.

As little as three walks a week (45-60 minutes each) at a moderate pace can do the trick.

However, if you mix it up, you can target what you specifically want to improve.

For instance: Weight training can improve your ability to focus and concentrate even with distractions going on around you. “Resistance Training” does not have to take place in a gym and can be as simple as lifting or moving moderately weighty common objects such as canned goods, household objects, tools or hand weights.

Aerobic exercise, such as faster walking, stairs, stepping on and off a step/stool, a mini trampoline, or anything that gets you slightly breathless, increases your ability to coordinate various unrelated things, helps with long-term planning and increases your ability to stay on task for extended periods to completion of it, and sticking to a plan.

Voss said that the MRIs of “people in their 60s showed increases in gray and white matter after only six months of exercise. This happens in the prefrontal and temporal lobes, sites that usually diminish with age. With exercise they grow. Plus, Voss said that the hippocampus area of the brain, key for memory formation, shrinks 1% to 2% per year in those older than 60, but when people in this age group begin fitness regimens, it grows by 1% to 2% instead. Beyond growing one’s brain, exercise improves the ability of different parts of the brain to work together.

I particularly liked that Voss said a ton of exercise isn’t really helpful, “There definitely is a law of diminishing returns. The difference between zero and moderate exercise is significant, whereas the difference between moderate and high exercise is much less so.”

Brain scanning technology is quickly approaching levels of detail that will have serious implications (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                                                               Stress, Anxiety, Addiction Specialist, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain                                                                                                               Serving individuals, couples, groups and families in the SF Bay Area and online for CA residents                                                                                                                                       Web: www.valentinotherapy.com                                                                                    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valentinotherapy ;                                                          Blog: http://valentinotherapy.wordpress.com                                                                       Blog: http://shrinkmeshrinkyou.wordpress.com

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How to beat a food addiction or craving.

How to beat a craving!

Valentino Therapy's insight:

How to beat a food craving!

Doesn’t everyone want to know that!

You can do it. You can achieve a healthy weight and self image.

In my clinical practice I’ve used a tool a lot that people report helps them a great deal.

 

If you think of a craving and realize it is growing stronger – even compelling you to use the problem food or use it in problem amounts, remind yourself that it happens in steps. Hard to believe and even harder to actually realize you can beat it if you follow the method I’m sharing here. However, once you have tried it and can see that it helps and that it often stops the unwanted behavior altogether, I think you’ll use it often.

 

When a craving strikes, remember that it will grow stronger and stronger – you already know that. Image that it is a very steep, rocky, perilous mountain slope that you feel you have to go up, that you have no other choice because the craving is strong and it is already upon you.

 

It will climb and climb upwards in you until you can’t stand it any longer and you medicate yourself so you can fall back down into a medicated state. It may not be a good state, nor a lasting one, but it’s one that you are familiar with. The fall may bloody or hurt you, make you ashamed, obese, hate yourself or even make yourself sick, but you are on familiar ground once again.

 

However, if you will just keep with the climb and let it get to the peak, that intensity will only last for a little while. The peak of every mountain is quite small and short in comparison to everything that came before it – that’s why it’s called the peak.

 

You can then take a deep breath and be very proud of yourself.

 

Go ahead and walk (or ski) down the other side of the mountain.

 

Once you look over the side of the ugly peak, you will see the other side is a much more gentle slope, with beautiful views of what lies ahead. You will not have to “sweat it”, hold on for dear life, get cut, bruised or killed by a fall because this side’s gentle downward slope has grass, meadows, maybe flowers, streams, perhaps a lake, and nice nature-minded people along the way to share some time with.

 

You walk down with pride, accomplishment and good feelings about yourself that you haven’t felt for a very long time.

 

You absolutely can do it. Imagine what your life will be like when you prove this to yourself.

What have you got to lose? Everything? Then go for it.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.                                                                                       Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology 

Stress, Anxiety, Addiction Specialist, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain Serving individuals, couples, groups and families in the SF Bay Area and online for CA residents Web:http://www.valentinotherapy.com                                                                                    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valentinotherapy  ;                                                  Blog: http://valentinotherapy.wordpress.com                                                                      Blog: http://shrinkmeshrinkyou.wordpress.com   

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