Brain and body fitness go hand in hand

Nora Moorehead hadn’t really thought much about the health of her brain until she took a St. Louis OASIS class called “Building Your Brain” in early 2011. The class is one of many health and wellness offerings from OASIS, thanks to a grant from Sam’s Club.

Sam's Club magazine features Nora

In the March-April 2012 issue of Healthy Living Made Simple, published by Sam's Club, Nora talks about the classes that have helped keep her brain sharp and growing. Read the article.

“You can’t get by with just doing crossword puzzles,” she said. “That program was very informative, I learned a lot.”

What she got out of that two-session class set a direction for the year ahead of how she would take care of the health of both her brain and her body.  “I learned about the sections of the brain and what I could do to help keep each of those fit.”  Exercises in class included using the computer, reading and writing exercises, as well as physical activity.  “You’ve got to keep your body alert, keep the blood pumping,” she says.

The brain represents only 2% of the body weight, but draws 20% of the body's total oxygen consumption. Physical activity keeps your brain healthy by increasing the blood flow to the brain.
After “Building Your Brain,” Nora used the knowledge from that class to find other OASIS classes that would help with keeping her brain fit.  “It’s about staying busy and challenging yourself,” she says.

Nora takes a weekly class regularly called “Stretch and Build,” which is a gently-paced program that blends endurance, balance, strength, stretching and relaxation exercises. “The exercise is good but you’ve also got to eat properly,” she says.  Nora also took “Understanding Your Dreams,” and a program presented by the St. Louis Science Center where she and her husband learned how to ride a Segway. They both attend lectures, socialize more, and volunteer through OASIS as well, participating in intergenerational events with children.

“I didn’t realize until I took the ‘Building Your Brain’ class how important all of these things are to keep your brain fit. That class really started it all,” she said.  Other programs in which Nora has gotten involved included an event through Forest Park Forever, where she and her husband helped children decorate pumpkins, and a class on perennials through the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

“All of these opportunities help with brain fitness,” she said.