TBI Journey Inc.

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Brain Fitness
This page is primarily designed to help you achieve and maintain Brain Fitness.  To help you in that quest, the basics of how to help your brain reach its full potential are laid out below.  

If you want to keep up with new information in the areas of general health and fitness, cognitive issues related to aging and brain injury as well as TBI specifically, follow my Facebook page, TBI Journey.

  • Healthy Mind Platter: Link


Dietary Guideline

  • FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Website: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/supplmnt.html
  • Antioxidants: A USDA study analyzed the antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods. Researchers tested over 100 foods. Here is a ranked list of the top 20 fruits, vegetables and nuts:
1. Small red bean (dried), ½ cup                 11. Strawberry, 1 cup
2. Wild blueberry, 1 cup                                    12. Red delicious apple, 1
3. Red kidney bean (dried), ½ cup                      13. Granny Smith apple, 1
4. Pinto bean, 1/2 cup                                      14. Pecan, 1 ounce
5. Blueberry (cultivated), 1 cup                          15. Sweet cherry, 1 cup
6. Cranberry, 1 cup (whole)                               16. Black plum, 1
7. Artichoke (cooked hearts), 1 cup                    17. Russet potato, 1 cooked
8. Blackberry, 1 cup                                         18. Black bean (dried), 1/2 cup
9. Prune, 1/2 cup                                             19. Plum, 1
10. Raspberry, 1 cup                                        20. Gala apple, 1


American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Guidelines
Website: www.acsm.org/health+fitness/index.htm

American Heart Association
Start! is the American Heart Association’s groundbreaking national campaign that calls on all Americans and their employers to create a culture of physical activity as an important part of taking control of your health.
Website: www.americanheart.org/start

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Physical Activity Recommendations
Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/recommendations/index.htm

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

Volunteer Opportunities Website: http://www.volunteermatch.org/
Relaxation/Stress Management Strategies

Progressive muscle relaxation
Squeeze your right hand into a fist as hard as you can.
Hold the fist and pay attention to how uncomfortable the tension is in your fist.
Now, slowly release your fingers extending them one by one and notice how the tension leaves your fingers.

Deep Breathing:
Take a deep breath through your nose.
Let the air fill your stomach and chest slowly and fully.
Hold the breath for several seconds.
Slowly exhale the air through your mouth.
Stress Reduction Information Sources:
Stress: How to Cope Better With Life’s Challenges, Website: www.familydoctor.org/167.xml
Mountain State Centers for Independent Living, Understanding and Dealing with Stress: Website: http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/stress-intro.html
WebMD: Stress Management Health Center- Website: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-topic-overview

Sleep and Hygiene Tips:
Go to bed at a regular time each night.
Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, temperature, noise, light
Turn the alarm clock so you can’t see it
Use the bed for sleep, not reading or t.v.
Don't lay in bed when you are not sleeping.
Give yourself 20 to 25 minutes to try and get to sleep in your bed.
If you cannot fall asleep after that time period, get out of the bed and leave the bedroom. 
Do a non-fulfilling activity-read a non-engaging book, sort laundry.
The same 20 t
o 25 minute rule holds and you may need to get up several times.
The point with this exercise is to condition your body and brain to sleep in the bed, not worry in the bed!
A.K.A: Fun and Games

Learning Games

Free Online Games: General

AARP Games – Features free online puzzles, word games, mind games, card games and other interactive games. The site includes clear instructions with few advertising interruptions.  Website: http://www.aarpmagazine.org/games/

Cartoon Network –A Network (commercial) site that includes free games.
Website: http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/games/index.html

Pogo.com – Offers free games such as whomp, solitaire, dominoes, chess, and more. Registration is required to play games on this site. It is quick, easy, and worthwhile to register because of the wide variety of games.
Website: http://www.pogo.com/home/home.jsp?sls=2&site=pogo

All Games Free – Offers a wide variety of free games including arcade games, card games, puzzle and word games, sports games, and interactive trivia games. Registration is fast and free and once you're registered you will be able to create a custom "my games page," with all of your favorite games.   Website: http://www.allgamesfree.com/

Free Arcade – Features more than 150 arcade games such as puzzle games, board games, and card games without required logins or sign ups.  Website: http://www.freearcade.com/

PopCap Games – A commercial site featuring both single player and networked games. The single player games include fun, speed- based games like Big Money and Diamond Mine as well as puzzle solvers like Atomica and Mummy Maze. To play, click on a game and it will take a few minutes to load.  Website: http://www.popcap.com/

Playsite – Offers networked gaming; you can play games with people from all over the world. Choices include board games (Monopoly, Chess, Backgammon, and more), card games (Bridge, Hearts, Spades, Euchre, and more), word games, (Scrabble, Tangleword), classic arcade games (Asteroids, Centipede), and more. Registration is required.
Website: http://www.iwin.com/

Play Free Online Games – Offers a great selection of free games, including adventure games, arcade games, board games, cards, sports, puzzles, word games, etc. Some you will need to sign up for, others just click and play.
Website: http://www.playfreeonlinegames.co.uk/

MSN Games
– Provides a good selection of board and card games that are especially easy to access and play. Provides helpful hints for the games, if needed, and features good game descriptions and the ability to browse by genre.
Website: http://zone.msn.com/en/root/default.htm

Yahoo Games- http://games.yahoo.com/

Zeeks! Games – Offers all sorts of games, with few advertisers. Some games may be appropriate to play with your  children or grandchildren.  Website: http://games.zeeks.com/games.php

Free Online Games: Specialized Games
Merriam-Webster Online – A commercial site, offers a new word game every day. Features four types of games based on words, definitions, and etymology. Includes an archive of two months of games. To play, click on "play today's word game" and wait a few moments for the game to load.  Website: http://www.merriam-webster.com/game/

Online JigSaw Puzzles:
Some sites include capability to determine difficulty level of puzzle, be timed doing a puzzle and compare to others, and have daily puzzle e-mailed to you.

Computer Software:

Language Software:
commercial software to deal with speech and language recovery after stroke or other type of brain injury.  Website: http://www.bungalowsoftware.com

Brain Performance Software:
Institute of Medicine(now National Academy of Medicine) Checklist for Brain Training Program
Brain HQ
Dr. Cheryle Sullivan's Personal Testimony: FYI I have no link to this company nor receive any money related to this testimony.  I just care about evidence-based programs/products.
I became interested in exercises specifically designed for brain training after seeing a program on public television about Post Science. I had read about the benefits of word games and activities on brain fitness, but hadn’t known about specific products developed and researched to help improve brain function.

As a person who believes in evidence based medicine, I was excited by the fact that dozens of studies published in prestigious journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association show that the programs are uniquely effective. Posit Science’s programs are proven to speed up and sharpen the brain. This leads to the ability to think faster, focus better, and remember more. 

I have personally started with the early InSight program, since some of my visual processing issues were frustrating me. I move on to the Brain HQ program as they updated their training program. I like the idea that I undergo a pre-test to get a baseline, then get updates along the way on my progress.  I also like the timed practice sessions, as I tend to get engrossed and go on for a long time. Forty minutes of training is a good amount, more might lead me to being tired for the rest of my day and make me less productive.  The exercises are easy to understand, fun and I can see improvements in my functioning each time I do a session.

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