We’ve all had the experience of struggling to find a word, remember a name, find our car keys, or memorize a grocery list. But what if you took your dog for a walk around the block, then couldn’t remember which house was yours? What if you forgot the difference between red and green lights while sitting at an intersection?
The symptoms of cognitive decline, brain injury, and brain diseases are often difficult for most of us to recognize or comprehend. Symptoms may worsen in the evening, during stressful situations, or vary from day to day. Imagine if you had:
- Short term memory loss:
- Did I eat breakfast already? <How would you know?>
- Where’s my purse? <This can create continual anxiety.>
- Why are you so frustrated with me? <After asking the same exact question 3 times in five minutes.>
- Who is that? <After meeting a new person a few minutes earlier.>
- Inability to recognize:
- Who is that? <When seeing an old friend or family member.>
- What is that? <When handed a common object like a hairbrush.>
- Where am I? <Not recognizing your driveway, street, neighborhood, etc. Getting lost frequently.>
- Inability to plan or anticipate:
- I don’t understand what you mean. <When describing future events such as a medical appt.>
- Why is that important? <When unable to forsee consequences of actions such as not leaving the front door open.>
- Inability to organize:
- Wearing clothes backward/incorrectly.
- Unable to pay bills on time.
- Difficulty keeping a clean, organized kitchen, bathroom, refrigerator.
- Inability to follow directions, perform sequential tasks:
- I want to make tea but I don’t know how.
- I’m sitting in the car ready to drive. What do I do next?
- I’m at the computer but I can’t remember how to use this keyboard.
- Other physical and mental problems:
- Forgetting how to read, use a phone.
- Easy prey for scammers and criminals.
- Anxiety, fear, depression, confusion.
Those of us unaffected by brain issues perform these types of things so automatically we forget how complicated some tasks can be. It can be very frustrating when a friend or loved one forgets how to do basic things, can’t follow simple instructions or anticipate consequences of actions. How can we better understand what these people are going through?
Regarding dementia, Alzheimer’s Research UK has tried to do just that. They’ve created a unique Google Cardboard app designed to put us in the shoes of someone living with dementia. There is information and a video about it here: https://www.awalkthroughdementia.org/
When we realize how difficult life can be for people experiencing dementia and other types of cognitive impairment, it makes sense to do whatever we can to help. Small improvements in daily function can help decrease anxiety, prevent depression, and improve safety.
Here at OrthoSport Hawaii, we asked the question, “With the resources and talents at our disposal, how can WE help?” After extensive research1 into the subject, we discovered that aerobic exercise performed while simultaneously challenging cognition, memory, problem solving, etc., is an effective way to maintain or improve brain function for a variety of conditions. Well, helping people exercise is one of the things we do best!
So we started BrainFit.
Our BrainFit program combines heart-healthy aerobic exercise with specific, research-based brain exercises and games tailored to your individual skill level.
To achieve the best results, you need to maintain an optimal heart rate while performing brain challenges. Our personal trainers will inspire you with fun, interactive brain games while monitoring and helping you maintain your optimal heart rate based on your fitness level and ability.
Your BrainFit program includes 10 sessions which you will attend once or twice per week, depending on your preference and schedule. If you have a friend or relative who is at a similar level, you can even attend your sessions together! You will begin with an initial assessment of your brain ability using a phone or tablet. Then, each session will start with valuable information on lifestyle factors that affect brain health such as nutrition, sleep quality and so on, customized to your specific situation and lifestyle. Up next will be the active part of the session where your trainer guides you through a fun workout for both body and brain. You will probably be laughing a lot!
At the completion of your 10 sessions, you will re-take that initial assessment to test your progress and see how much you have improved! After completing the program, you will have options for additional training or a program to work on at home to continue to improve.
So far, feedback on BrainFit has been extremely positive. If you, or someone you know may be experiencing cognitive issues or would simply like to increase brain function while improving fitness, then BrainFit may be for you. For more information, please contact the OrthoSport Medical Fitness center through this website, or call (808) 373-1114.
Click to watch our Hawaii News Now Segment with Jim Mendoza.
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1 Research references available upon request.