3 More Tips for Brain Health (That Also Help You Fit into Your Jeans)

Healthy brain food to boost brainpower nutrition concept as a group of nutritious nuts fish vegetables and berries rich in omega-3 fatty acids for mind health as a composite image.

It may seem obvious. A habit of consistent exercise is good for you. Sufficient and quality sleep is also good for you, and eating brain nourishing foods will fuel your life and all that you ask from it.



All three are essential to reach your highest wellness potential and all are crucial for maintaining optimal brain health. Research indicates all three could also help you prevent Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Coronary Heart Disease. (Check out part one of my brain health series for the startling statistics about AD.)

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So, what is more important: your jean size or your brain and heart health? What if you just felt better, stronger, more confident in your jeans, and practiced habits like these that will help you prevent AD and heart disease? You’d be contributing to your health and feel better in your jeans. It’s a win-win! (See my article on body acceptance and why appreciating the journey will help you reach that body acceptance and love.)

There is no need to choose between fitting in your clothes and being as healthy as possible. Exercise, sleep, and eating nourishing foods is good for your brain, your heart, and your beautiful body.

The following three lifestyle strategies will help you achieve both: your jean size and your brain and heart health!



4. Move every single day.

Ladies, we used to think we could…

  • • Take a couple of days, or more, off exercise
  • • Sweat two, three, or four times each week without consistency
  • • Use exercise alone to maintain our weight or lose weight
  • • Put exercise after we’ve cared for others around us…

…And basically, live sitting/driving much of the week and work “off” our mistakes on a not-so-daily basis. This lifestyle choice will lead to more frustrations, diets, celebrity cleanses, 30 or 60-day challenges. This results in the same old same old frustration and cycle of yo-yo deprivation dieting, over cardio-ing, weight gain, and frustration.

We cannot continue to do this, ladies. It is terrible for your body, yet even worse for your heart and brain to avoid a consistent exercise practice. Even more now at 45+, our bodies are different. So is the way you can treat your brain. Care for it through daily exercise.

If you want to attack obesity, Alzheimer’s, depression, and aging all at the same time – move! Particularly strength train. Research shows that those who strength train regularly have better cognitive abilities than those who do not.

Exercise improves the flow of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the brain and protects it against things like high sugar levels. It also decreases inflammation, fat cells, weight, and frailty. It increases metabolism, longevity, bone density, and confidence.

And, for my dear readers in Peri or Menopause (anyone 45+), research has shown that exercise helps decrease the milder “vasomotor” symptoms, like hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances.



5. Get quality sleep

By now, it’s no surprise to you; I am a proponent of sleep as the foundation of your health and wellness, weight maintenance or loss, stress management, and productivity.

Sleep is the foundation for your overall health, wellness, and your physique. It helps you remain calm during stressful experiences, wards off cravings, and increases metabolism. Lack of sleep has been proven a lead indicator of depression, psychosis, stroke, and obesity.

Relative to brain health, your lack of sleep today can tell us a lot about your chances of getting AD. In a recent study, the more fragmented your sleep is, the more likely there will be an increase in beta-amyloid (a toxic plaque found in the brain and a key player in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s).

“We have found that the sleep you’re having right now is almost like a crystal ball telling you when and how fast Alzheimer’s pathology will develop in your brain,” says Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience and senior author of the paper published in the journal Current Biology.



6. Eat nourishing, brain-healthy foods

Food companies use billions of dollars on behavioral science to coax you into eating their brand of whatever. They know how to gain your interest and show you messages incessantly about how you will feel and look if you eat their foods.

Resist the foods that do not feed your brain. Your brain uses 20 – 30 percent of the calories you consume.



Even with a rigorous exercise routine, a diet filled with processed foods, sugar, bad fats, ingredients with pesticides, artificial colors, and dyes will prevent your brain from reaching its optimal health.

Last, give up the yo-yo dieting. The brain doesn’t respond well to it, and neither does your body!

If you want to learn more ways to get that holistic wellness, sign up for my newsletter for the next round of openings in our program, and get a free 5 Minute Flow.


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!


Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314




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