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3 Great Ideas to Exercise Your Brain

As we age, our brain will begin to grow old as well and my begin to slow down and present various symptoms. You may notice that your memory may have been affected as learning new concepts and processing new information becomes difficult. Learning names and remembering numbers or appointments become difficult as well.

How does this happen?

Our brain actually goes through physical changes when we age. For example, our brain mass changes and in fact shrinks when we get older. The amount of neurotransmitters also decreases as we get older. All these physical changes affects our brain greatly.Despite the fact that this change is evident, there are many things that we can do to help ourselves as we live with an aging brain.

One activity that can really benefit are playing games! Yes, you read that right. This is the perfect time to spend countless of hours playing games. Brain games that is!

Brain games are games that have one objective; to challenge your mind! Brain games forces you to utilize cognitive skills such as planning, memory, problem solving and strategy making. The brain is a muscle and in order to be more effective it needs to be trained and exercised!

Some great ideas for brain games:

1. Card games – You can use cards to help with your memory as you are challenged to remember various shapes, colours and numbers. There are many variations of games to help you exercise your brain.

2. Board games – The best thing about board games is that you can play with multiple people! Games like chess and checkers are good games that help you strategize and even problem solve. Plus, the feeling of winning always goes a long way!

3. Apps – There are thousands of apps on your phone or on your tablets that can be used to help exercise your brain. Technology now allows us to access these games and puzzles that can help train our brains.

Brain games are a fun and engaging way to become healthier! Who knew those two things would be in the same sentence? Use these games to your advantage as you or someone you love begin to age and feel the effects of it! Most importantly, have fun!

5 Tips to Improve Sleep As We Age

As we age, our sleep patterns behaviours and quality change as well. As an older adult, you may find difficulty in staying asleep or waking up at inconvenient times. Having good sleep hygiene can reap a multitude of benefits. This benefits include improving memory function, concentration, and help recover from the rigorous activities that your body has endured.

On the other hand, bad sleep hygiene increases the risk of falls as you become more tired and careless, a noticeable decrease in attention and memory, and overall fatigue throughout the day.

1) Create a Schedule!

We are products  of habit and routine. When we establish routines and schedules, our body begins to adapt and we find ourselves adjusting naturally. When we create a schedule for sleeping, we can keep up and regulate our circadian clock which is essential in having good sleep hygiene.

2) Have a proper sleeping environment

As you get older, you may experience a higher sensitivity to sound so it is important to create an environment that can help facilitate good sleep. For example, keeping the TV down or turning off will help. Having some ear plugs can help if your partner or someone else in the room is snoring loudly.

Light can be a distraction and can disrupt sleep. Ensure that no distracting light enters the room or use a eye mask to help block out unwanted light.

Temperature can play a big role in having a healthy sleeping environment. Cooler temperatures will help facilitate good sleep.

3) Avoid Caffeine!

I don’t mean to scare you. Caffeine is okay. However, having caffeine during inconvenient times, especially at night can have bad effects on your sleeping habits.

4) Exercise

A good sleep is one of many great benefits of daily exercise. Exercise can help reduce stress and tire the body for sleep. Just make sure you do not exercise too close to bed time! Your body may be wide awake!

5) Reduce daytime naps

Naps may seem very tempting especially after a good meal or a workout. However, long naps during the day will disrupt your sleeping pattern and will keep you up at night. Try to avoid naps longer than 45 minutes.

Tips to reduce joint pain when living with Arthritis

Tips to reduce joint pain when living with Arthritis:

Arthritis has the potential to negatively affect one’s quality of life. The pain and discomfort in one’s joints can make simple and every day tasks difficult. For example, putting on a shirt or cooking a meal can take twice as long and can be very painful. Here are 5 tis on how to reduce joint and muscle pain when living with Arthritis.

1) Monitor Energy Levels

Your energy levels will be affected when living with Arthritis. It is important to plan out your day and prioritize the activities that need to be done. For example, complete all the strenuous and difficult tasks during the beginning of the day when you have the most energy and do simple tasks as the day ends. It is important to monitor your energy to reduce risks of injury or fatigue to your joints and muscles.

2) Utilize Hot & Cold therapy   

Joint pain can be relieved with hot and cold therapy. Taking a long warm bath can help soothe any stiffness in your joints. Cold therapy (ice packs, cold gels) can help with swelling and inflammation. It is important to be aware of these treatments to help tackle and pain you may encounter.

3) Use large joints/Body mechanics

It is important to take stress off the smaller joints by using your larger joints and utilizing proper body mechanics. Keep large items close to your body and use your legs to lift items. Slide heavy items along counters if possible to make it easier on your joints.

4) Use adaptive equipment

Equipment with large handles that limit the use of the finer joints will help. Tubing that can be installed to handles will also have a benefit when doing work in the kitchen. If a physiotherapist or occupational therapist recommends any special equipment, continue to use it safely.

5) Get help!

There will be situations where you may be fatigued, in pain, or just unable to complete a task. It is not advised to do a difficult task on your own when you start feeling these symptoms. The risk of injury increases. If possible, get a friend or a family member to help you out and assist with some of the larger tasks!