Physical fitness has been a top priority in order to stay healthy. While physical fitness is definitely important, intellectual fitness is equally necessary. Physical fitness can be achieved by regular exercises like endurance activities, resistance training, balance exercises, and flexibility exercises. Intellectual fitness involves exercises for your brain in order to stay mentally fit. Several studies have found that physical and cognitive exercise in early, mid and late life is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Additional studies have found that people who exercise experience slower loss of brain tissue as they age.
The Wicking Dementia Research, University of Tasmania has found that damaged brain neurons do not repair themselves. However, with physical and cognitive exercising, it has been found that the brain develops new replacement neurons over time.
Intellectual fitness is just as important as physical fitness. An unchallenged mind will soften and deteriorate. If the brain is not worked it will weaken just like a soft flabby gut. The quickest way to an out of shape mind is by not utilising it and letting in junk. Intellectual junk can be determined as watching mindless TV for example, the brain receives no intellectual value from it. One of the most alarming factors I noticed, while working with elderly clients in residential care, was how fast the basic functions were being forgotten. The simple task of recognising numbers was the worse. I happened to have mentioned this to an associate of mine and she then made a very valid point. In everyday life, we use numbers more than we realise. Counting out change for a purchase, comparing prices in the supermarket. Using our PIN at an ATM, refuelling the car, working out the shortest route for the school run, this all involves numbers. For most people in residential care, this is a sector of life that they become cut off from. There is no need to look at prices, to count change and such likes. In short, the brain receives very little intellectual stimulation and therefore that function starts to fade away.
While the majority of venues cater for aspects of physical fitness very few cater for intellectual fitness. Another area I noticed, while presenting fitness programs to the elderly is that one always had a number of the residents who did not participate due to perhaps physical restrictions, not interested in physical exercise and so forth. In most cases this resulted in those non-participating residents either being holed up in their rooms, feeling excluded or falling asleep during the physical fitness session. The reason- there was nothing stimulating to keep the brain occupied with.
This led to the development of our Intellectual Fitness Programs covering FitBingo and FitWord. These programs combine the physical aspect of fitness with the intellectual or cognified fitness, resulting in an increase in participant retention and offers a session where there is something for everyone. Our inhouse evidence shows that client retention has increased to an 93.75% average participation rate since the introduction of our Intellectual Fitness Programs. Our programs cover aerobic, resistance, flexibility, balance and sensory components. Our programs are formulated to you're specific requirements.
What is Intellectual Fitness?
Physical and cognitive exercise should be continued for as long as possible for people with dementia, as it's been found to have a number of benefits - preventing muscle weakness, mobility problems and other health problems associated with inactivity. In addition it can help to promote a normal day-night routine, improve mood and increase social participation.
Overall Benefits of Intellectual Fitness
Increases mental flexibility
Exercises hand-eye coordination
Increases emotional and physical health
Decreases risk of falls
Improved cognitive function