A few days ago, I posted a video on Snapchat, Instagram Reels, LinkedIn and TikTok about the importance of exercising your brain. And it was only a 60 second video. But then I started thinking, you know, I have to give my followers, my listeners, whatever word you want to use to describe you, more information.
So I did some research. I went to the Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School, and I looked up how to improve your brain health, because it's really important. A lot of people talk about how you need to be physically better, so you have more energy to be more productive. And that's certainly what I teach. But then I was fascinated by some of the research I found from the Harvard Medical School's research. Now they gave several ideas on how you can keep your brain young. So it doesn't matter if you're listening to this podcast episode, and you are in your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, your 50s, or much older, there are things that you can do at any age, to maintain a younger brain. Because I hope this isn't a spoiler alert for you, but you only have one. And when it's gone, it's gone. And if you've been listening to this show for any length of time, you know my mom is 76 years old, and she has late onset Alzheimer's. She kind of went off a cliff but four years ago. I miss my mom. My mom is forever gone. Dementia and Alzheimer's destroyed her frontal pre cortex, which is where the executive function lies. So I'm really cognizant about brain health. That's one of the reasons why I run every day. I've been running every day since August 29, 2017. I'm taking better care of myself. So I want to serve you on this episode by giving you a few ideas on how you can improve your brain health today, right now. It doesn't require any fancy equipment.
Number one, mental stimulation. Now what does this mean? Reading. Now, reading is great. And, unfortunately, fewer and fewer people are reading today in September of 2021, than have ever read what I find very sad. But it's not just reading, I'm not talking about reading tweets, or Facebook posts or Instagram posts, or captions on a TikTok or a Snapchat video. I mean reading a book. And even beyond that, reading something that forces you to think. I recently finished Walter Isaacson's book called The Code Breakers. It's about gene editing. I didn't know a single thing about gene editing. But I read the book, I learned a lot and it forced my brain to think. So read things that are not easy for you to understand. The next thing is to take courses. Whether it's my Basics of Productivity course, or how to quilt, or how to plant a garden, or how to trim your own tree, take a course. Especially if it's something that you're not at all familiar with, it will really help your brain. Of course, we have the mental gymnastics: word puzzles and math problems. And then experiment with things that require mental dexterity as well as mental effort like drawing, or painting or other crafts. I remember when I was a child, we used to make these things at summer camp with the popsicle sticks. And back then you couldn't go to Michael's and buy popsicle sticks, you'd have to go and collect them from your friends. Quite interesting. So mental stimulation is the first tip from the Harvard Medical School.
Number two, physical exercise. I thought this is very interesting. I did not know this. When you are engaging in physical exercise, it spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connection between brain cells. Physical exercise is important not only for your health, not only for your heart, not only for your body, but for your brain as well. The more you're exercising, the healthier your blood vessels are, which means more oxygen can get to your brain. Now you don't have to run like I do. I run every day. I'm 56 years young. Maybe you take a brisk walk, maybe you go swimming, maybe you go on a bike ride, maybe you dance around your house, you need to engage in physical exercise. Now a little note here: if you haven't exercised in a while, please consult your doctor first. Don't just get your sneakers on and go for a run that may not end well.
Number three, improve your diet. What kind of foods are you eating? Not what kind of food you think you're eating. What kind of foods are you eating? Now, you know, there's a difference between the two. You know where I'm going with this. I personally use and endorse an app called Cronometer. The reason why I like Cronometer, and they have a free and paid plan, I'm personally on the paid plan, but I get nothing for promoting Cronometer on the show. They don't even know I did until just now. It tracks the micro nutrients. I mean, there is MyFitnessPal and Lose It but I like Cronometer because it's not crowd based. So everything you add is then checked and verified by Cronometer. And again, as I say, they're really big on the micronutrients. But when you track your food, you know exactly what you're consuming. Now, my wife and I have a podcast you might want to check out it's called Mark and Michelle Go Keto. It's available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. And the whole crux of that podcast show is to share our journey with going keto. It really depends on how you're eating your food. And one of the things we talked about on a recent episode, is if you are eating absolutely horribly, don't get down on yourself, oka?, Begin to make small changes, small changes are more likely to stick with you than big changes. So don't say, I'm never going out to eat again. I'm never gonna have a McDonald's french fries, I'm gonna throw my food out. Don't do that. But maybe your next meal, you say, You know what, I'm just going to eat keto for my breakfast or I'm gonna eat keto for my dinner. Or I'm not going to have a cupcake before bed. Small changes to your diet will give you astronomical, big effects down the road. And it will not only affect your heart health, and your overall health in the positive way, it'll also improve your brain health.
Number four, improve your blood pressure. How do you do this? Stay lean. I'm really tickled pink that my wife told me that, I've been on keto for 56 days as of today, and she says, You know, you've only lost like 10 pounds, but you look leaner. And I really appreciate her saying that to me. Now, my goal weight is 185 pounds. I'm 192 now. So I'm almost there. I didn't have to lose a lot. But stay lean. Exercise regularly, like I just talked about, and then reduce stress. How much stress are you under right now? Are you under a lot of stress? Reduce that stress. I don't care if you're fighting with your employer, you're fighting with your neighbor, you're fighting with your kids, you're fighting with your spouse, you're fighting with a TV remote control. Whatever the case, you have to reduce your stress for better brain health. And of course, here we go again, eat right.
Number five, improve your blood sugar. Did you know that diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia? I did not know that until I did this research for this episode from the Harvard Medical School. And how do you improve your blood sugar? This is gonna sound like a broken record. Eat right, exercise regularly and stay lean. Isn't that amazing? The same core ways to stay healthy, applies to everyone at every stage of life. No doctor is ever going to say, Hey, eat horribly, don't exercise, get fat. They're never gonna do that. So you cannot go wrong by eating right, exercising regularly and staying lean.
And the sixth thing I wanted to share with you on the show today: improve your cholesterol. I thought this was interesting. High levels of LDL, which is the bad cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of, wait for it dementia. I bet you didn't know that. And what do you do to improve your cholesterol? Okay, let's cue the replay: diet, exercise, weight control, but we're going to add tobacco here or as they say down here in the south tobacca.
Okay, so those are six ideas how you can improve your brain health: mental stimulation, physical exercise, improve your diet, improve your blood pressure, improve your blood sugar and yes, improve your cholesterol. The overlying takeaway, eat better, exercise regularly, and stay lean. That is all from the Harvard Medical School. That's not something I made up. So if it came for the Harvard Medical School, there's probably a lot of science behind that.
Listen, you only have one heart. You need to take care of it. You only have one brain. You need to take care of it. You only have one body You need to take care of it. I'm 56. Like I said, I plan on making it to at least to triple digits. And more than that, I plan on still running when I'm triple digits. And I can't do that unless I'm taking care of myself.
And I'll be completely honest with you. I didn't really start taking care of myself until my mother got diagnosed with late onset Alzheimer's. Because her mother, my grandmother, died from Alzheimer's. And now my mother's got it. And it's just like, she went off a cliff. And I remember having a conversation with my mother's neuropsychologist. And I said, Is there anything I can do to reduce or mitigate my chances of getting Alzheimer's? And you're not gonna believe what he told me. Eat right, exercise regularly, stay lean. Does this sound familiar? And he also added get enough sleep. So that's why I'm so big on talking about health and wellness. Now, you may say, Mark, but I thought you were a productivity guy. I am. Do you think you can be productive if you allow your brain to deteriorate? No. Do you think you can be productive if you're massively overweight? No. Do you think you can be productive if your heart is in such poor shape you can't even walk four feet? No. So health and wellness ties directly in to productivity. So please take the suggestions from the Harvard Medical School to heart, to your head, to your brain. Take care of your body. It's the only one you have. It's not hard to do this. The ideas are real simple. You're going to have to make some tough decisions. But you can do it. Because I know you can.
I want to thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Mark Struczewski podcast. Hey, listen, hop on over to my website, MisterProductivity.com. There, you can find out about how you can get the top five productivity tips for entrepreneurs absolutely free right there in the homepage. Okay? Top five productivity tips for entrepreneurs. And I'll tell you a secret just between you and me because no one else listens to the end of the episode, there's two bonus tips in there. So you get seven! Seven for the price of...free. It's all at MisterProductivity.com Thank you so much for your time and attention. I really mean that. I really appreciate you and until tomorrow, my friend, go stay healthy, go get wise about your health, and go be productive.