You probably know that I strongly recommend that you spend 10-30 (or more) minutes every day at the brain gym (www.brainhq.com).  For me, that’s 30 minutes spent on my laptop working on my BrainHQ Personal Trainer regimen when I first arrive in the morning at my office—but it could be almost anytime in my daily schedule.  You should also know that I just as emphatically recommend—if you’re physically capable of it (and, of course, not everyone is)—that you should ALSO spend 10-30 (or more) minutes every day at physical exercise.

For me, that assured daily form of physical exercise comes in the form of a brisk early-morning walk with my eyes and ears and olfaction wide open, reconstructing the landscapes in my San Francisco neighborhood.  I have the advantage of living in a beautiful neighborhood of Victorian row-houses on the flanks of a mountain (Mount Sutro) just above the eastern end of Golden Gate Park.  Every day on my walk I look down on the Park and surrounding neighborhoods, out over the ocean entrance to San Francisco Bay with the Golden Gate Bridge on the horizon—then across the vista to the skyscrapers of San Francisco and the hills of Berkeley and Oakland, then across Cole Valley to the hills and cityscape down the San Francisco Peninsula.

There are a lot of ups and downs that contribute to my cardiovascular health on my walks—and a lot of wonderful things in my neighborhood to drink in and record, as my brain works to actively master my local habitat. And every day, I have a companion.  My dog Doug enjoys these morning walks every bit as much as I do.  Doug is small and white, a poodle-bichon frise mix.  “Bichon frise” means “curly lap dog” in English, but Doug is more like a small, white, armored tank than a lap dog!

Doug’s perpetually wagging flag of a tail betrays his almost constant good spirits, which really come alive when he’s out there with me in our neighborhood.  And the neighborhood IS “ours”, his and mine. He knows every inch of it, clearly a master of the territory that he lives in.  So, in the same way, I try to master it—as you should, for YOUR territory—because that is a VERY good thing for your brain, and is one of the first abilities that a brain loses its grip on, as it advances toward troubles and senility.

As Doug and I were gamboling along this morning, it occurred to me how enjoyable it was for me to share this daily exercise with him.  He contributes to my motive to religiously take those walks, because I do it both for him and for me.  I’m fond of him; it would be hard to deny him these small daily pleasures.  I am a happy witness to the fun of it all for Doug, expressed in his expressions and actions.  Doug likes to twist his leash under his left foreleg, charging forward hell bent for leather, as far and as fast as he can go in a 3-legged romp just for glorious fun of it.  Many’s the time a stranger has stopped to alert me that my dog has his leg caught in his leash!  Little do THEY know that for Doug, this is one of the purest forms of fun.  I love the way that he always looks back at me at the end of such an exhilarating rush, with—I swear—a smile on his face!

If you struggle with being motivated to get your daily exercise, you might think about finding yourself a happy companion to go on that daily walk with you, or who would enjoy being with you for whatever that other regular daily form of exercise.  A dog or human companion who would also benefit from the exercise are obvious good choices.  And once you’re into it, remember how important it is just to never let that companion down!  When you exercise with a pal, like I do with Doug, you just CAN’T disappoint them.  In my case, I’d have to look into the eyes of an eager, tail-wagging, tongue-hanging Doug who is trying to help me find his leash and say “Not today, pal. I’m too busy.”

And if you want to “double-down” to further encourage your daily physical exercise every day, carrying around a fitness monitor or a health app on our smartphone.  My sisters and I have found that to provide a good daily assurance that all is well with our physical exercise regimen.  Add this to your brain health training at BrainHQ and you’re right on the path to a better life!