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Keeping Your Brain Fit

Jan 9, 2017 | News

keep-your-brain-fitLiving at a life plan community inspires fitness according to Suzana Delgado, fitness and wellness coordinator at East Ridge at Cutler Bay.

It may also contribute to staving off dementia according to a recent article in the AARP Bulletin, “Keep Your Brain Young by Staying Fit”.

According to the article, exercise helps keep muscles strong, blood vessels flexible and stress low. It also enhances mental abilities, stops brain shrinkage and promotes the formation of new neurons.

“At East Ridge, fitness opportunities are so accessible, it’s hard to stay home and be a couch potato when residents see their neighbors walking, riding a bicycle, returning from a fitness class or the Wellness Center,” she explains. “I encourage people to come to the Wellness Center and work out but the comradery of their neighbors is what really makes the difference.  People are inspired by their neighbors.”

Before moving to East Ridge, many residents found joining a gym intimidating and it was challenging finding classes geared to seniors.

The community’s calendar of fitness classes is varied and geared for all levels.  For example, the popular Sittercise class is a low impact aerobic exercise class and people either sit or stand using a chair for balance and support.  It’s an effective alternative to low impact aerobics.  The Balance/Flexibility class focuses on strength and flexibility exercises to enhance someone’s balance while Strong and Fit is a general strengthening exercise class that includes basic exercise for conditioning muscles.

According to research by Arthur F. Kramer, a senior vice provost for research and graduate education at Northeastern University in Boston and an expert on exercise and the brain, people who are physically active “have lower rates of Alzheimer’s and other age-associated neurodegenerative disorders”.

His research showed that when previously sedentary men and women age 50-80 years old walked around a track 40 minutes a day, three times a week for six months, their hippocampi increased in size.  This is the area of the brain that is key to memory and when it shrinks, it leads to memory problems.

Residents at East Ridge (, have raised their hand to volunteer for a successful aging research study being conducted by University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

East Ridge residents are participating in the longitudinal study of normal and cognitive aging which received a $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and is being conducted over five years involving 300 seniors. The study is being conducted by Dr.David Loewenstein, a Professor at the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Director of Neuropsychology at University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.  Dr. Loewenstein presented some early findings to East Ridge residents last month.

To learn more about the fitness program at East Ridge, try a class or tour the community, please call 305-256-3564.