Senior Moments, Brain Health, and the Fitness Solution

What does it mean to have a “Senior Moment”. He was a big fella whose priority seemed to be more buffets and less barbells.  I didn’t know whether to roll my eyes or round up information concerning these senior moments.Senior Moments - Dog Looses his glasses

Fitness is the answer

As a psychology professor and the Director of Fitness at Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group (HVVMG), I have a motto: “Fitness is the answer, and it doesn’t matter what the question is.”  Consequently, I have a hybrid perspective of connecting mental capacity to fitness levels.  So, I figured fitness would have a positive impact on any sort of brain strain seniors experience.  I already knew that fitness had a greater impact on memory than those “brain exercises” like Lumosity. Research showed that Lumosity sponsored a study to justify their self-promoted memory enhancement programs.  Later, two independent research projects showed that vigorous exercise had a positive impact on memory. Being intrigued and never wanting to visit Seniormomentville myself, I did some digging. I then discovered a solution, called “brain health.”

Senior Moments - Brain Blue

A Healthy Brain is Important

The health of our brains is very fragile and highly susceptible to negative input, even to the point of physical maladies.  An example you ask?  Sure.  Did you know that when younger folk have negative views of ageing, it can be harmful [1]?  Negative stereotypes of ageing have been known to reduce memory functions as we grow older, and, get this, create a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes [2].  Crikey, what’s a young guy like me to do to avoid this trap?  Oh, I know, I need to develop a personal fitness program which will facilitate brain health and stave off the effects of ageing and negativity towards it.  I know ageing is gonna happen, but why help it along by leaving fitness out of our list of life priorities?

Hey, we are not born with all of our brain cells

Our bodies experience a phenomenon known as neurogenesis, where our brain’s hippocampus generates healthy new brain cells throughout our lifetimes. The hippocampus, which is the first area of attack for Alzheimer’s, remains more highly functioning with the increases of oxygen efficiency. Which we smart fitness guys call VO2 max.  What is the only way to increase our VO2 max? Vigorous exercise!  At our recent LifeFit U seminar at HVVMG, attendees were startled to hear that fitness can be a critical component to preventing Alzheimer’s.  We talked about how there was no reason to encounter memory loss, mind and body breakdown, or any other life-threatening situation.  We just have to prioritize fitness.  It ain’t easy, but for those who are living the dream in their “later years,” they’ll tell you it sure is worth it.

At HVVMG, our free senior fitness program is titled Retro-Fit.  The purpose is to help attendees achieve maximum health and wellness through fitness.  Not only is the Retro-Fit program helping seniors get out of their wheelchairs. It helps them through away their canes. With research today, we think they are experiencing neurogenesis.  We are improving their psychological and physical lives in extraordinary ways.  The only losses going on here are loss of weight. While gaining memory function, hope, self-esteem, and transformed lives.  Can I get a BAM?

Senior Moments - seniors-stretching-2

We all have the chance, right now, to make a life statement.

As a result, by making fitness a priority in our lives and increasing our brain health, we will have the chance to live our lives the best ways possible while remembering those times vividly.  Our senior moments, then, will bring us smiles and joy, not disappointment or disillusion, as we now remember the greatest parts of our lives (and where we left our car keys).  BAM!

-George Mangum M.A., Heritage LifeFit Fitness Director


[1] Hess TM, Hinson JT, & Statham JA. (2004). Explicit and implicit stereotype activation effects on memory: do age and awareness moderate the impact of priming? Psychology of Aging, 19(3), 495-505.

[2] Levy BR, Zonderman AB, Slade MD, & Ferrucci L. (2009). Age stereotypes held earlier in life predict cardiovascular events later in life. Psychological Science, 20(3), 296-298.