Can Ikigai Diet Help Dementia? Part 3 A Secret of Ancient Japanese Martial Arts

Although diet seems to be the most significant factor to prevent dementia, other factors such as physical exercises, mental exercises, living environment, and social life all contribute to keeping your cognitive function healthy.

Today, let me talk about physical exercises. There are all kinds of exercises you can do; jogging, walking, cycling, yoga, Taichi, Aikido, swimming, mountain climbing, tennis or any other types of sports.

What is important is to find an activity that you can enjoy. Something you feel comfortable doing. Depending on your circumstance, different activities can be done more easily. If there are some sports clubs or classes nearby, joining one is a good option, since it provides social interaction with others. Finding a partner to do exercises with can help you continue doing them if you lack self-discipline. On the other hand, sometimes, it is easier to do exercises on your own since you can do them at your own pace.

When you think of social aspects of doing sports, activities like yoga and Taichi tend to attract people who are on more natural and organic diets, therefore it may be easier for you to follow your diet while socializing with them.


Nordic walking

One exercise I recommend is Nordic walking. It is like regular walking except that you use Nordic poles to support yourself while walking. It is less strenuous than jogging but you can make it harder than walking by using poles: It is a whole body movement. Unlike jogging, you don’t need to worry about damaging your knees.

One great advantage of Nordic walking is that Nordic poles help you keep your spine straight while walking. It is not known so much, but having a good posture is one of the most crucial elements of your health. According to ancient Japanese martial arts, the posture determines everything about your condition, and if you want to improve your health, pay attention to your posture while you are sitting, standing, and walking. Make sure to keep your spine straight.

Unfortunately, the Western lifestyle isn’t designed to help you keep your spine straight, the way you sit and so on, most people’s spines aren’t straight. It is difficult to feel if your spine is straight or not. Nordic walking is one way to straighten your spine and after going Nordic walking for a few months, you start feeling what a straight spine feels like.

It happened to me, too. After going Nordic walking, I began to pay attention to my posture whenever. When I walk, I walk as if I am Nordic walking, when I sit, instead of reclining on the chair, I sit with my back straight. Yes, I have one of those president chairs in my study to do my writing, and I did tend to recline on it-haha.


Move a lot in your daily life

Some of us are too busy to find time to do exercises, aren’t we? Then try to move as much as possible in your daily routine. If you live in a two-story house, walk up and down the stairs as much as possible. My study is on the second floor, so I naturally go up and down the stairs every day.

You can do the opposite of permaculture when you design your living environment. Permaculture is a system of designing your living environment in a way that you use less energy. For example, you make a garden of vegetables that you need to take care of every day close by, and a garden of plants which can be managed by an occasional visit far from your house. This is good to conserve your energy, but in this case, you can design your house in a way you have to move a lot.

When you go shopping, walk or cycle if the store isn’t far. Do a lot of work around the house, such as gardening, fixing your furniture, or even carrying a box Amazon delivered to you-haha.

It is one of the factors of longevity seen among people living in Blue Zones. People in Blue Zones exercise a lot in their daily life. They often walk and work in their garden. Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy are both in mountain areas and people often walk up and downs. This applies to the Seventh-day Adventist church in Loma Linda, California, too. They take a walk regularly. Through their gardening, most people in the Blue Zones get enough exercises.

That means gardening is another exercise you want to incorporate into your life to keep your brain function well. Yes, I recommend that you grow vegetables because there are some more factors in gardening which can help you keep your mind sharp other than exercises.

What are those factors?

I will talk about them in the next post.