Can you stand like this flamingo? For 20 seconds? The flamingo stand has become a marker for brain health.
Researchers at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Kyoto University in Japan asked about 1,400 people (average age 67) to stand with one leg raised, eyes open for up to 60 seconds. Everyone tried this twice; best times were used for analysis. Then, using MRI, the researchers scanned everyone’s brain.
They found many specific brain impairments in those who struggled for balance before 20 seconds; in short, those with the shortest balance times generally had the lowest mental performance scores. That could be discouraging…
But the brain can heal!
There is loads of current research indicating how much the brain can heal once you know it needs healing. (Many of those in the study had few or no indications that their brain health was at risk.) Knowledge is power!
If you know my story, you know that I had two brain diseases before I began my self-healing. I remember trying the flamingo stand years ago, and don’t want to remember the number of seconds I could do it, but it’s hard to forget. A hint: it was fewer than the fingers of one hand!
I just tried it now and quit on my own at 30 seconds (and I’m not even close to young, except in spirit!)
Of course, the younger you are, the easier this test is to do. Though research indicates that by age 25, balance begins to decline gradually, I don’t know many 30-year-olds who need to be thinking much about the health of their brains!
But if you’re of an age that being your best self as you age is on your mind, it’s well worth considering.
Brain Healing- what works?
The National Institute on Aging has some excellent suggestions for specific physical activities.
As the brain (specifically the cerebelum) governs balance, what affects the brain negatively affects your balance. An important factor is inflammation, to which the brain is very sensitive. Junk foods, sugars, processed carbohydrates, lack of sleep, too much stress, lack of exercise — these are all factors that can accelerate degeneration of the cerebellum and the rest of the brain.
In short, following an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are key to brain health.
So, go ahead. Try it! How long can you do the flamingo stand ?
And if it’s not as long as you’d like, I can help.
(Please leave your comments in the section provided below if you’re so inclined. I’d love to hear from you and from you to hear from one another.)
A Light Spirit and Vibrant health to you all