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Why You Should Be Exercising Your Brain

We are regularly bombarded with reminders about exercising our bodies for good health. But did you know that the brain benefits from exercise too? It’s known as “brain fitness” and you don’t have to step foot into a gym to do it!

Brain fitness uses mental challenges, such as puzzles and brain teasers, to promote new brain cell growth and survival. This can mean improved concentration, better memory, a more focused mind, and a lower risk of age-related memory loss.

There are many ways to reap these awesome benefits while engaging your mind. Read on for some of our top suggestions!

Use a brain training program.

Several online brain fitness programs have recently been developed to give the brain a good workout. These companies work with scientists and cite studies to support the effectiveness of their brain training exercises:

BrainHQ provides science-supported exercises created by neuroscientists and other brain experts. They even call themselves “your personal brain gym.”

The well-known Lumosity program works with both game designers and researchers throughout the world to develop their games. They begin with a Fit Test to see how you compare with other people your age.

Fit Brains by Rosetta Stone is another great resource for fun brain games. Their exercises train you in skills such as problem-solving, language, and mind processing speed.

Play your own puzzles and brain teaser games.

Challenging games, like Sudoku or crosswords, can keep you sharp and help strengthen your mind. Plus, they are fun! Websites like ProProfs Brain Games let you play logic games and do puzzles from anywhere online.

Engage with others.

Speaking with people about important topics can be a great basic workout for the brain. You get to discuss different viewpoints and talk about what you know, which stimulates the mind. Plus, staying social prevents isolation and is just great for your overall wellbeing.

Start a new hobby.

Different parts of the brain are exercised when you teach yourself a new skill or enroll in a new class. Some good ideas include dance, music, or art classes. It’s a fun way to make sure you are always learning!

Turn off the TV.

While entertaining, watching too much television doesn’t allow your mind much room for independent thought. But when you do watch TV, try to focus on programs with complex characters or plots and use your brain to analyze them while you watch. This lets you get involved in the story while your mind stays engaged.

So while you’re eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and heading to the gym regularly, plan to engage in some daily mind activities too. Because no matter your age, a fit body isn’t complete without a fit mind!

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Top 5 Benefits of Adding Resistance Bands to Your Workouts

If you’ve never tried using resistance bands, it is well worth your while to learn how you can incorporate them into your workouts. Resistance bands are fairly simple, but can seriously help to challenge your body in new ways and help you reach your fitness goals. They are basic rubber bands made in varying degrees of thickness, and can be used to do most any strength-based exercise without the need for using heavy dumbbells.

Top 5 benefits of resistance bands

  1. Adaptable for any fitness level. One of the incredible benefits of resistance bands is that they can be used by those totally new to strength training or seasoned experts. This is mainly due to the fact that they can be purchased from thin to thick, and you can even use multiple bands at once if you need extra resistance.
  1. Portable and affordable. While purchasing an entire set of dumbbells to use at home can cost a pretty penny, a resistance band costs around $10. You can even buy a set of bands along with a workout DVD for under $50. Another excellent benefit of resistance bands is that they couldn’t be easier to travel with, so you can use them in hotel rooms, outside at a park, or anywhere you want to get in a quick and effective workout.
  1. Whole body movements. Any fitness expert will tell you that selecting whole body exercises (movements that target multiple muscle groups) is important if weight loss is your ultimate goal. Resistance bands can be easily used to do just that, as they challenge every major muscle group of the body.
  1. Switch up your workout routine. Another key element to exercise success is challenging your body in new ways, so as to keep progressing and avoid plateaus. You’ve probably noticed that the exercises that were tough in the beginning slowly but surely get easier, and this is a sign that you need to switch it up. Resistance bands can be alternated with free weights or machines to add a different type of challenge. Read here to learn more about some major differences between free weights and bands.
  1. Offer an effective workout. Not only are bands great for strength-based exercises, but they can also work your flexibility, range of motion and stamina.

3 exercises to try

Resistance bands can be incorporated into movements you might already be familiar with, so you can easily experiment with these variations.

Standing row

Instead of using a cable machine, loop your resistance band around any solid surface (pole, tree, etc). Bend your knees slightly keeping your weight in the heels, abs tight and shoulders down, and row back with each hand on one handle of your band. If you need more resistance step back, and vice versa.


Place the resistance band under your feet, which should be just past shoulder width apart, toes forward. Holding the handles, bring them up to shoulder level, and keep them there throughout the exercise. Come into your squat (weight on the heels), and push back up to standing. As always, use a thicker band for more resistance.

Overhead press

Position the band just like you did for the squat, with it under your feet and holding the handles at shoulder level. Instead of squatting, start with your arms at 90 degrees from your shoulders, and press up until they are straight and next to your ears. Return to your starting position, and repeat.

For more ideas of how to use a resistance band, check out this great article. And remember, don’t be fooled into thinking these movements are just for beginners, as they can truly take your workout to the next level.

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Pill Management is So Much More Important Than You Think

As you know, we are deeply passionate about pill management. But while we embarked upon this journey because of our own experience helping loved ones with their medications, non-adherence results in an estimated $100-300 Billion in annual medical costs, and an estimated 125,000 deaths per year.

But many may not realize that non-adherence is most often by choice. According to the AMA, these are the most common reasons people don’t take their pills:

  • Patients may be experiencing fear about possible side effects.
  • The high cost of the medication may cause patients to delay or avoid purchasing their prescription.
  • Patients may be experiencing confusion about how the medication helps, particularly in cases of those with chronic illnesses who don’t see improvement right away.
  • When taking multiple prescriptions and doses, it’s much more likely for a patient to lose track and forget to take their pills.
  • When they start to feel better, patients may choose to discontinue treatment before it’s time.
  • Patients worry that they’ll become dependent upon the medication.
  • Patients suffering from depression are more likely to be non-adherent.
  • When a patient feels suspicious of their doctor and his/her perceived relationship with pharmaceutical companies, they may be less likely to comply.

There are countless other personal reasons that people have for non-adherence, but the greatest area of opportunity is with communication. Patients rely heavily on doctors for education and reassurance, but you are your own best advocate.  Here are 4 ways you can help yourself better manage your medical adherence:

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Your doctor may think their explanation of what the medication does was clear, or that the usage instructions were straightforward, so if you keep quiet they won’t realize there’s an issue. Ask questions and express concerns, your doctor is there to help you.
  1. Enlist a partner. Informing a friend or family member of your regimen and having them join you at appointments provides you with another set of eyes, ears, and hands.
  1. Use tools that will help. Organizers and other containers, reminder apps, smartphone alarms, a spreadsheet, a calendar – there are many ways to manage the regular taking of pills. Choose what best helps you stay organized, and stick with it.
  1. Don’t use the internet to self-diagnose. Medical websites and online forums should never take the place of your doctor.

By not adhering to his or her treatment plan, a patient doesn’t reap the benefits that medication is intended to provide. Patients may feel helpless when faced with illness, but by managing one’s health he or she may end up feeling more empowered. And eventually healthier.