Comprehensive Fitness Regime
We know that by regularly exercising our cardiovascular system we reduce our risk of heart attack. Similar evidence has emerged that by continually challenging our brains with novel activities and learning new skills, we can establish cognitive reserves, which reduces our risk of brain related illnesses later in life. Cognitive effort keeps us mentally sharp in the areas we exercise and helps build these cognitive reserves. Hence the phrase “use it or lose it”.
Like neglecting the health of our body, brain deterioration builds up over time and we often only become aware of it much later when symptoms present. So in the second half of our lives, a more comprehensive personal fitness regime is required that mutually builds the capacity of both mind and body. We recognise that fitness is only as good as the weakest link and therefore understand that a holistic perspective is necessary.
Proactive Ageing will help you develop a more holistic fitness plan with the goal of being able to energetically engage in life both physically and mentally for as long as possible. In particular, we provide options to pursue your interests in physical health, mental fitness, emotional regulation, nutrition and/or social engagement.
Your Personal Trainer
Proactive Ageing’s brain training courses provide an innovative educational program for people to develop their mental skills. Introductory classes combine presentations on how our brains work with an initial assessment and a broad offering of basic skill building exercises to help get you started. After a few months practitioners can then start to more precisely tailor their training to support their long term goals.
Proactive Ageing provides a scientifically validated suite of tools that is used to personalise a training schedule designed to cater to your specific needs. The program provides an assessment to measure the strengths and weaknesses of your individual cognitive skills. Then we develop a personally tailored training program that focuses on your less productive skills to more effectively expand your cognitive proficiency. But not exclusively, we still believe that a broad brain workout provides the best results.
Your Mental Health Club
In recent years the amount of knowledge surrounding mental fitness has been rapidly catching up with the concepts and techniques we have been employing for physical fitness. Brain training has evolved to improve our ability to comprehend information, remember more for longer, and to think faster and more accurately.
The techniques employed are the same as for physical fitness - continually building capability by identifying and measuring specific skills, employing targeted training techniques that incrementally improve each skill, then re-measuring and retraining in cycles. Training across a wide variety of cognitive skills is recommended to build the broad capability we need for vibrancy in everyday life. Variety is a key principle of brain fitness and Proactive Ageing provides a workout circuit like a health club.
Proactive Ageing provides accurate assessments and personalised cognitive skills training. Our goal is to provide you with scientifically validated training targeting the right skills, with the right intensity, and the right progression.
Age Specific Training
The brain’s ability to reorganise itself and build new network connections (brain plasticity) and the brain’s ability to grow new cells (neurogenesis) continues throughout our lives. This means that brain training for older adults is just as useful as for younger people. Indeed, because of the effects of the cognitive decline that we all experience, brain training for older adults is even more important to maintain our vitality.
Just as the sedentary lifestyle of most modern people does not provide sufficient physical exercise, it also does not provide sufficient mental exercise with similar long term health risks. If we don’t mentally workout to maintain good brain health then our risk of dementia increases. Alzheimer’s Australia reports that “Dementia is not a normal part of ageing” and “research shows that taking part in mentally challenging activities is linked with a lower risk of developing dementia”. They also report that “whatever your age, you can do a lot to keep your brain active and help reduce your risk of developing dementia”. We know that mental exercise builds cognitive reserves, which lowers our risk of developing dementia. [Alzheimer’s Aust ......]
Motivation and Support
The goal of Proactive Ageing is to help you become self motivated for your own personal health care and further engagement in life. To identify and leverage your own personal goals and drivers. You are encouraged to be persistently curious about what you are learning and to trial as many new activities as you can. Like the physical fitness industry there is a need for both personal training and group activities to maintain motivation. Peer support is important in formulating objectives, soliciting feedback and most importantly in helping each other strive to reach those goals. Proactive Ageing believes that any form of fitness training (physical and mental) is better served in a group environment than alone. This is particularly important for brain health because social engagement has proven to be such an important factor.
Some of the criteria for activities that are especially good at supporting brain fitness and building motivation include:
· teaching you something new in a positively surprising way
· activities that are designed for fun and having a social element
· engaging and incrementally progressive activities that are always a little bit challenging
· reinforcing the learning you do through regular rewards
Our brains respond best to novel and challenging activities. That is why our brain training programs contain algorithms that automatically adjust the level of difficulty to the user's abilities as they are training. This ensures that the most optimal training is always available. It is neither too frustratingly hard nor too easy and boring. This maximises both motivation and learning. The goal is to maintain each person at their threshold of ability, incrementally advancing their proficiency for each of the different skills that they choose to enhance.
Your Long Term Health Plan
A brain training program with strong science behind it is important but it is only one component of your full cognitive tune up. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is essential for staying mentally sharp and agile. We know that regular cardiovascular exercise, a low fat diet and lowering our stress levels are important for the health of our heart, but they are just as important for the health of our brain. Proactive Ageing has developed a comprehensive brain health program that covers all of these important aspects for the long term.