Friday, October 3, 2014

How's About a Brawny Brain?

Thought for the day:  When I was younger, I looked forward to getting up early every morning to exercise. Nowadays, getting out of bed in the morning pretty much IS my exercise.


Remember the Charles Atlas ads that used to appear in the back of comic books? According to good ol' Wikipedia, the ad shown here is from about 1949,  but the ones I remember best featured 98-pound weakling Mac, who was forever getting sand kicked in his face at the beach. Poor guy. The ads promised to turn Mac and every other skinny boy in America into a muscle-bound chick-magnet. (That's what boys all over America read between the lines, anyhow.) All they had to do was buy the kit, follow the directions, and bada-boom, bada-bing,  they'd develop abs of iron and buns of steel.

I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happy with buns of cinnamon...  [Ellen DeGeneres]

Yeah. What Ellen said.

Not that I'd mind having a sleek body again, but I don't know how much exercise I'm willing to do to get it back. I mean, we bought a membership in a really nice gym a couple years ago. Spent almost five hundred bucks on it, too, and I still haven't lost any weight. (sigh) What can I say? Apparently, you have to actually show up at the place. Wouldn't you think spending all that money would be good for a pound or two...? Oh well. Doesn't really matter. At my age, I'm more concerned about having a fit brain. Having a fit brain is much more important to me than having a twenty-two inch waist.



 I don't recall ever seeing any ads in the back of comic books offering a kit to help us beef up our gray matter, but it sure would be nice if there were a way to keep our brains in shape so they can continue to do the heavy lifting throughout our lifetimes, wouldn't it?


There IS a way! Lots of 'em. Reading, of course. Stimulating conversation.

I consider conversations with people to be mind exercises, but I don't want to pull a muscle, so I stretch a lot. That's why I'm constantly either rolling my eyes or yawning.  [Jarod Kintz]

No, I mean stimulating conversation. Fun conversation. Laughter.

And of course, games and puzzles. Now, I'm not talking Candy Land, although it can be fun to play that one with the grandchildren. I'm talking about games and puzzles that make you t-h-i-n-k.

Think 1-2-3-4-hold... and stop. And again... think! 1-2-3-4- hold... and stop. Think harder! Dig down deep and feel the brain...





It's never too late for us to form new pathways in our brains, ya know. We've just gotta stimulate them, and get the blood pumping.

To keep our brains in good shape, we've gotta USE 'em. Challenge them. Phyllis Diller said her idea of exercise was a good brisk sit. (Sounds good to me...) But there's no reason she (we) couldn't engage in some mental calisthenics at the same time.

I've always liked to play games and work puzzles, simply because I think they're FUN, but now? I still think of them as fun, but I also recognize them as a possible way to stick a proverbial finger in the dike to maybe slow down the aging of my mind.

So you can imagine how intrigued I was by one of the books offered to me by the folks at

Part of this book's blurb asks, Want to get your frontal lobe breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

Heck, yeah! (Especially if I can do it while enjoying a nice brisk sit...)

The book is called Bend Your Brain, and while my brain is already bent enough, thankyouverymuch, the promise of stimulating my gray matter... while having some fun... was too much for me to resist.

Created by some of the keen-minded puzzle-makers of Marbles: the Brain Store, the different types of puzzles compiled in this book are intended to target specific parts of the brain... and make them stronger. Puzzles are divvied up into categories of visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory, so there's plenty of variety from which to choose. Some fairly familiar ones, and some brand new and rather innovative.

So what did I think? I thought some of the puzzles were too easy, especially the ones meant to develop word skills. (But that's probably my strong suit.) I thought some of the images were difficult to decipher, but through process of elimination, they eventually became apparent. I must admit, I skipped some of the puzzles altogether. Like the ones involving standing in front of a mirror and following directions to form a letter. Um... I generally avoid standing in front of mirrors. (It's much easier to maintain my illusions that way.) But I did form the letters mentally... (Just as good, right?) Some of the puzzles, I thoroughly enjoyed. Some simply weren't for me. (It's impossible to identify celebrities by a single facial feature unless you're actually familiar with the celebrity. Seeing the whole face wouldn't have helped me.)

But bottom line? I enjoyed the book. It was fun. If it also stimulated my brain while I was having fun, I'm all for it. Yep, I'd recommend it. For sure. And you know? I think it actually helped my brain grow, too. Smarticus called me a fathead the other day. Nice of him to notice...

For more information on this mind-bending book, see here
For more info about the minds behind the puzzles, see here

NOTE: I received this book for free from the fine folks at Blogging for Books in exchange for writing an honest review.

~~~~~~~~

The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again.  [Erma Bombeck]

The trouble with jogging is that by the time you realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back.  [Franklin Jones]

Whenever I feel like exercising, I lie down until the feeling passes.  [Robert Hutchins]

You know what? One of the best things you can do for your brain is... exercise. Honest-to-goodness physical exercise...

Crap.

~~~~~

The lovely author Carole Kilgore has been running some very cool contests on her website for the past few months. Month-long contests in which she gives stuff away. Good stuff. Books and other goodies. This month, the author she's featuring is... me! If you go to her spiffy tiki hut and click on the contest button in the sidebar, you can see what it's all about. All it takes is a simple response to the question she poses (or a more detailed response, if you prefer) and you, too, will be entered into her contest of the month. For October, the swag waiting to be won is an autographed copy of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, AND a copy of Old Broads Waxing Poetic. Next month? Only Carol knows for sure. So why not make it a habit to visit her blog? It's fun, and no exercise involved...

                        Although with proper exercise, we can accomplish great things...



                           Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

75 comments:

  1. Buns of Steel? What good are buns of steel when they're so hard you can't sit down on them? (I don't remember the exact quote but Jean-Claude Vane Damme said it)
    Feel the brain? First I'd have to find the brain. I shone a torch in my ear, but couldn't see anything. I'm pretty useless at most puzzles, I do easy crosswords and look at the harder ones, sometimes I surprise myself by answering a clue (just one) and I like the code cracker puzzles where you get clues such as 9=S; 15=B and you have to work out the rest and make the words, I'm pretty good at those, but anything mathematical or logical stumps me completely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! That's a good one from Van Damme. True, too. (Not that I've ever experienced that particular problem.)

      I'd say your brain is doing just dandy. You do a fantastic job creating stories from the list of words Delores provides every week.

      Delete
  2. Some days I am pretty certain that I have lost my marbles and that the cats are batting them around on the floor - where I cannot reach them. Which terrifies me. MS does eat brains as well as bodies and the first frightens me a whole lot more. Which is part of my justification for continuing to read. And read. And read some more.
    I have Hot Flashes (though not an autographed copy) and am looking forward to the Old Broads landing in my letter box soon. I hope whoever wins them gets immense pleasure from them - and am sure they will.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all have those lost-marble kinda days every once in a while. I understand your concerns, but of all the people I've known with MS, (and that's a LOT) very rarely did I ever notice any signs of mental degradation. I applaud you for doing all that reading. I really do believe it helps.

      I hope you fall in love with "Old Broads." Some very talented ladies contributed to it.

      Delete
  3. I'd like to challenge my brain more. I find that I'm forgetting things and it's taking me longer to do math in my head--especially since I usually reach for a calculator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering all the writing projects you juggle at the same time, I'd say you do a pretty darned good job of challenging your brain.

      If you're still able to do math in your head, you're well ahead of the curve. Most people are so dependent on a calculator these days, they're completely lost without them.

      Delete
  4. That video was a shock. I'm enjoying Carol Carpenter and Ka-boom. Cute, though.
    I think all you writers exercise your brain daily. Daily brain exercise...... I don't know..... I'm rather lazy about that. I'm also pathetic about the physical stuff and I have to force myself with bribes and all kinds of promises.

    Erma Bomback used to zing out some good ones. I had never heard this one from her. Haha
    Enjoy your weekend and don't forget your exercise. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE that video. It's a very clever (British, maybe?) advertisement for a brand of "strong" cheddar cheese.

      You're still writing a blog... visiting and commenting on other blogs... reading challenging non-fiction books... and always thinking, thinking, thinking. Your brain's getting plenty of exercise. (PLUS you feed it well!) As for the physical, I bet you do more physical work than a lot of people half your age.

      Erma was the best.

      Happy weekend to you, too!

      Delete
  5. My mother gave me a love for puzzles... I haven't played them a lot lately but that is okay my job is a massive puzzle that keeps me on my toes :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! There's puzzles... and there's puzzles.

      Delete
  6. A good, brisk sit--hahaha! I love that. :) I enjoy most kinds of puzzles, although if I spend too much time on them, I start feeling guilty like I should be doing something else. Perhaps I should just be happy to know they are helping to keep my brain alive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right! You aren't wasting time when you're working puzzles... you're in training!

      Delete
  7. My body is mush and my brain is not far behind. One of these days I'll be found on the floor dissolved into a little pile of mashed potatoes. Pass the butter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Too funny. But I've seen the way you write... your brain is far from mush.

      Delete
  8. My buns are in shape, not sure if they are steel though lol do p90x for 90 days and you'll be more fit then you've ever been. Puzzles are fun and surely keep the brain working.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For an old broad, my buns aren't too bad. (Senior citizens have to lower the bar a little...)

      Delete
  9. My great grandmother was sharp as a tack up until her death in her nineties, but her daughter (my grandmother) because confused and started to decline after a fall / hip fracture. It started the day she was injured and never got better.

    That always worries me...dementia, mental decline. I wish someone would say, "Just to this - and you're good!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all worry about our minds and memories as we get older and realize we aren't bullet-proof. Let's hope you have a full force of your great grandmother's genes.

      Delete
  10. >>... Want to get your frontal lobe breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

    SUSKI ~
    Are you sure this wasn't actually a porno book and you just weren't reading between the lines well enough?

    Every single time I drink a beer, I read the label on the bottle and - WHOA! - that's more than enough mental exercise for me. (My brain is pooped but my body's... relaxed, baby, RE-LAXED.)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Coulda been, coulda been. I'm remarkably naive for an old broad.

      There's a lot to say for being RE-LAXED. So here's to a very relaxing weekend, Stephen McC. (Keep your beer on the bottom shelf of the fridge so you have to bend a bit to fetch one. Exercise, dude! Exercise!)

      Delete
    2. Walking to and from the fridge isn't exercise enough?
      Well, damn! I've been getting it wrong all these years...

      Delete
    3. Depends on how far away your fridge is. Maybe we could dance across the kitchen?

      Delete
  11. Dear Susan,
    at the risk of sounding overzealous: I train both, body (with weights and jogging and yoga) and brain (translating is a good way, writing, conversation, travelling, drawing - and now you can hear from my room: "Studio l'italiano' (you will hear more of that - be warned). Body training gives energy - and mind training too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Britta,

      No, you don't sound overzealous at all! What you sound is... healthy! Good for you.

      Delete
  12. I used to have a body that would cause traffic to stop. Now there are near fatal crashes as they seek to avoid my thunderous thighs and generously proportioned butt.

    Because I have a condition that causes short-term memory loss, I do try to exercise my brain as much as I can by reading and doing brain training activities. I'm absolutely addicted to Sudoku.

    Love the mouse video.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Time isn't always kind to us, is it? Thank God we still have a sense of humor, eh?

      I'm a Sudoku addict, too. The tougher, the better. Same for crossword puzzles... both of which I work in ink. Impressed? Don't be. It's erasable.

      Delete
  13. I exercised brain and body in Italy. Walked more than I had in years, and just listening to another language and trying to read directions is a brain bender. This solution is expensive. In real life, I'm a sloth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, now that you got so much exercise in Italy, your body and brain are entitled to a little vacation. (Isn't it the truth? We almost always need a vacation to recover from our vacations...)

      HA! A sloth? I know better.

      Delete
  14. Duh. Forgot to also invite everyone to come over and enter to win a copy of your books!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like puzzles that stretch the brain a bit too. I also like mindless games like Candy Crush (something I'm very late to the game in discovering) but that's besides the point. ;)

    And I wish I'd EVER had a 22-inch waist, lol. :)

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even seemingly mindless games stimulate more thought than you think they do.

      Nah. Being skinny isn't all it's cracked up to be.

      You have a super weekend, too!

      Delete
  16. Bending my brain? How? Bazing style or in the pink? :-)

    To me the perfect balance is that old Latin saying mentis sana in corpore sano, or something like that. I can't be bothered to look it up on Google now. But healthy in a healthy body. Why we evolved into prioritising one over the other I don't know but nowadays either you are sporty or arty, or brawny or brainy. That's why I liked the title of your post. I have got a brawny brain as it happens! :-)

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even when I used to work out every single morning, my brain has always been much brawnier than my body. And that's AOK with me!

      Greetings back atcha.

      Delete
  17. Another of my blogger friends wrote about keeping the old brain active.
    She was talking today about the two new classes she and a friend have signed up for. plus they can get out and get involved.
    Good ideas all around.

    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe if we're lucky, blogging itself counts as a brain-stimulating idea, ya think? Not as good as taking classes, though...

      Cheers back atcha.

      Delete
  18. I sure like the weightlifting brain doodles, yours? Lately I've taken a few blows and wished I'd kept my brains in better shape to deal with them. Anxiety time here. Then I read your blog last night and got out Thursday's NYT crossword and DID it. Then glanced at the Daily Jumble and did that --almost, in my head, before falling asleep. Your blog improved me and I appreciate it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. had fun drawing those doodles. Thanks for noticing them.

      WooHOO! Way to go, dude! Now ya need to go for Sunday's NYT puzzle, and do it in INK! (Erasable is allowed... that's what I use.)

      Delete
    2. I always do crosswords in ink --nonerasable. Dude's are THAT good.

      Delete
  19. The mouse video is hilarious. I think Carol Kilgore is loverly.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it a HOOT? That's my kinda commercial.

      Yeah, she is.You're not so bad yourself...

      Delete
  20. I'm all for "moderate" when it comes to exercise. I just do enough so I can eat the stuff I enjoy so much. OK, I'll admit it: I exercise so that I can eat chocolate and ice cream and stuff.

    They say learning new stuff keeps you young. After just learning a new job, I definitely feel like I'm 19 again. A tired 19.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might exercise partly so you can indulge in those goodies, but I also think you ENJOY the walking. A lot. After a while, I think it can almost be addictive, especially when you have a beautiful setting to do it in... and a camera, of course.Gotta have a camera!

      Hey, a tired nineteen beats a tired seventy...

      Delete
  21. Whenever I feel like exercising, I lie down until the feeling passes. [Robert Hutchins]

    Is that Robert Manyard Hutchins?

    A professional football player (Lyle Azado) was quoted as saying something very similar, and since RMH died in the mid-seventies, that would mean I've been crediting Lyle incorrectly all these years, because I use that one all the time!

    I do not work out often enough, either, nor do I expect to return to the condition I was in in my late teens through my mid-twenties....but back then I was riding a bike a minimum of 50 miles a day, boxing, studying karate, lifting weights....then I took a job behind a desk.

    These days I'm beat after a half hour on an elliptical machine. But I feel better after that half hour than if I'd skipped it.

    Just looking for the Fountain of Middle Age....

    Larry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the name I have for the quote is Robert M. Hutchins, so it could be your man. (Maybe Lyle borrowed it?)

      That's the thing with exercise. Once we force ourselves to do it, we usually feel better afterwards. (And less guilty about eating dessert or having an adult beverage.)

      HA! Yeah, I'd settle for a fountain of middle age, too. The water at that place in St. Augustine tastes nasty!

      Delete
  22. Now you can add talented cartoonist to your bio! You're definitely exercising your brain on a daily basis, and the rest of you looks like it's in pretty good shape too! Not only do you challenge yourself, but you challenge those around you to do better, or so I've heard.

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love the first thought for the day as that is pretty well me these days but at age 82 I do exercise my brain as much as possible. I love to read (not heavy books these days though) and I play 50+ games of scrabble on facebook which I enjoy. I do enjoy crosswords but not good with the cryptic ones. Perhaps I am not able to think outside the square or something?
    I noted your comment to River and I think her use of Wednesday's words shows her brain works extremely well. She is a wizard the way she uses those words whereas at times my mind just goes blank.
    I tried Blogging for Books but as I don't have a kindle or similar I can't use it as they only send e-books outside America.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't get nearly as much physical exercise in these days, so I try to make up for it by giving my brain a work-out. As much as I love to play Scrabble, I'm afraid to get into playing it online, because I would never get anything else done!

      You're right. River is a whiz kid with those Wednesday words, and she just keeps getting better and better.

      That stinks. (Although you can get a free application through Amazon that allows you to read e-books on your computer.) As much as I enjoy receiving the free books through Blogging for Books, I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep requesting them. Now that I only blog once a week, I'm not sure if I want to devote a post per month or so to reviewing a book. Some of my followers simply aren't interested in that.

      Delete
  24. I used to love to do brain twisters as they were fun and gave me a great deal of satisfaction when I figured them out. Today, no one has to guess, or bother to think because all answers are on their fingertips as they click on their smart phones.. Someday the brain just might go the way of the appendix, it will be there, but not really used for anything. There are signs in this world that it might have already begun to happen.

    I am doing my best to keep and use what I have left of my mind and only have a dumb phone. I still like to use my vintage brain.

    The 1949 muscle man was such a smooth dresser.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and me both. I have absolutely no interest in owning a phone that claims to be smarter than I am. Matter of fact, I don't even own a cell phone... (I'm just not that important!)

      HA! Yeah, he was a real looker.

      Delete
  25. I do remember the poor skinny guy always getting sand kicked at him on the beach! I always felt so bad for him. Also even as a kid I thought super-muscular guys like body builders were gross so I preferred the skinny kid haha.

    Very cool that you are featured at Carol's site. I already have both books or I'd enter for sure. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muscle bound body builders were never my cuppa tea, either. I'd much rather spend time with a well-developed brain than a slick body rippling with muscles, tree trunk legs and a six-pack belly and... um... what was I saying...?

      Delete
  26. Working out helps clear my mind, plus being healthy is nice, since I want to do this writing thing for a long time. Which is why I box. Plus, getting out your aggression by punching things is always a plus...

    Every time before I write I sit down and do a few brain teasers or puzzles. It always opens up my brain, so to speak, and helps get the creativity flowing. I'm glad to know it's not just me that needs this kind of stimulation to get the ol' hamster wheel spinning, especially as it ages and gets a little more rusty each year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep on "oiling" your brain with those puzzles, brain teasers, and physical work-outs, and you shouldn't have to worry so much about your hamster wheel getting rusty. (Neat way to put it.)

      Delete
  27. I read somewhere that exercising your brain burns just as many calories as exercising your body. (That's my story and I'm sticking with it.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woo hoo, then I'm in a lot better shape than I thought I was...

      Delete
  28. I so believe it's ultra important to keep our brains thinking. My mom has played pinochle for years and now just learned how to play bridge and she is sharp. (especially for 81)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for your mom! I love Pinochle, but haven't played in years. Darn it.

      Delete
  29. Yes, we do have to keep our brains turning over! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ah, interesting! I've been looking into Khan Academy for this very purpose.

    Sarah Allen
    (Writing Blog)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi-ya, Sarah. Nice to meet ya.

      Khan Academy, huh? I'll have to check it out.

      Delete
  31. I would MUCH rather expand my brain instead of my waistline!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, me, too. Too bad lemon meringue pie isn't "brain food."

      Delete
  32. I saw your quote about exercise on your Facebook page. Very funny!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Well the gym membership took some weight off your wallet...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Yeah, it would have... if that part were true. (I made it up!)

      Delete
  34. Hi Susan .. my brain is well exercised .. too well exercised - but it amuses me and those who can bear listening or conversing with me! When my mother got ill my exercise lessened with sitting on the train to London and then sitting by her bedside, and my uncle's ... now I know I have a hip problem .. life will be interesting ... so better stretch and do what I can for the time being, til life is sorted ...

    I'm not good at puzzles ... though at the Nursing Centre .. they wait for me to turn up and then say well you'll know this!!! Sometimes ... I loved the mouse and will send him off to two not too well people, who will enjoy the video .. crazy fun ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, me, too. In fact, I'm pretty sure my brain has a lovely hourglass figure. Quite svelte.

      I'm glad you liked the mouse video. It totally cracked me up.

      Cheers back atcha!

      Delete