Friday, October 7, 2022

Late Starts and Brain Training (or not)

 Most days, I go to sleep somewhere between ten and eleven at the latest (I try to be in bed and reading an hour earlier unless I have a hot date or am at my daughter’s), and wake up in the six to seven am range, with those occasional exception days (when you wake up for biological reasons and cannot get to sleep).

On the surface, this would sound like I am a morning person. I am not a morning person. While I am awake, the thought of doing anything more than stretching in bed is appalling to me. Morning pages? Nope. If I journal it’s at night. Exercising right out of the proverbial shute?  You have got to be kidding me.  Having a conversation first thing? I live alone, but when I did not, people knew better. And I have nothing but admiration for my neighbors who get up and are dressed and run to do groceries or errands and are home before I am even dressed some days.  I had a PT appointment the other day at nine thirty. It did not go well.

Instead I tend to wander. And putter. And sit staring into nothingness on my patio while having my morning caffeine. Occasionally depending on my alertness, I can knit mindlessly, or look at my Kindle. But intelligent conversation (online or in person), showers, and even food generally wait until a good hour and sometimes two after I am physically awake.  

I’m not sure if that makes me a lazy morning person, a semi morning person, or none of the above. I do know that while I may awake between six and seven, getting to Tuesday morning church group at eleven can be a risk, and ten thirty Silver Sneakers is generally a lost cause.

In other news, now that the Great Courses are free, I’ve been watching a course called the Aging Brain, usually at lunchtime. I jokingly tell my family that my goal is to learn a new thing everyday, and while I don’t always do that, I have learned a few things with this one, even though I skipped a few of the videos (on Parkinson’s and such).

The big takeaway (not surprisingly) is that “brain training” or puzzles are only a small part of what it takes to increase cognitive function or keep it healthy. And that as well as word puzzles, there should be math (an area in which I fail). Does that mean I should try Soduku?

Happily for me, skill building and active learning have some value, which I did know for a while and why I wrote this post a long time ago. But it’s always good to be reminded that learning a new way or part of knitting or quilting or drawing or German keeps me alert and is not just “fun”. And quilting and baking are math based, so I guess I'm on a roll.

Also, the correlation between socialization and cognitive function is huge, and perhaps explains my need to make it a goal to interact (and also get out of my cocoon) at least four days a week. This requires occasional expansion of my laid back social introvert personality, but I am always happy once I’ve been out. It’s good to know that my weekly lunches, knitting group, coffee group and church activities have multiple purposes and values. 

Where I fail, or don’t do as well as I would like is the aerobic thing. Especially in the last year as I have had “issues”. Because, according to these lectures, aerobic activity is the one best thing I can do for my brain, and the longer the better. I need to do it more. On the ground, in the pool, walking around the house, but probably not sitting (no matter that my heart rate jumps with seated aerobics). So a new exercise plan that takes in multiple issues is in order.  And I may be going to that indoor pool after all.

I can probably use more days like Wednesday. Which involved an awful lot of snail pace walking (using a rented wheelchair as a walker and having it on hand if I needed it),  chatting with friends for a good four or five hours including lunch) and in general a fun time. Even though I am sitting with my legs on a blanket on a pillow on my ottoman to dull the throbbing today.

I am now off to see if anyone in my group wants to have breakfast tomorrow and RSVP for next week’s Knitting Group, now that I’ve had an at home day and a half to recover.

The next lecture is on eating and the brain. Well see how much of a wakeup call this is.


  1. It sounds to me like you do a good job mixing up your activities, and most of all, enjoying them! I do hope you get to the pool. It's transformative.

  2. I'm not a morning person either, so I completely understand being up early but not accomplishing much. i need my coffee to function.

  3. I never used to be a morning person and still you better not talk to me before I have coffee. Things switched around after having children and working in the school system. Most of my "chores" are now done in the morning so I can spend the afternoons relaxing by knitting, sewing, cross stitching, or rug making.

    God bless.

    1. Once I'm actually moving I do try and do the important things earlier.

  4. I could have written those words about not being a morning person! The greeting "good Morning" are horrible words. Just leave me alone! I may look into the Great Courses.

    1. I don't mind being greeted. But the idea of showering and dressing and all that...

  5. I am a morning person, but I prefer my own company in those early morning hours. At work, people knew enough to leave me be until I got that first cup of coffee and through my e-mails.
    I would have never have thought of you as an introvert. You always seem to be on the go. My outings are limited to grocery shopping and one knitting group. Perhaps I need more interaction with people.

  6. "laid back social introvert personality" certainly describes me as well. I get 9 hours of sleep (midnight - 9am) then two hours of reading online (email, city paper, NYT, Facebook). I should also watch that series ... Beginning Oct 1 I started walking on purpose. Minimum of 2,000 steps (which sounds way better than one mile) and I hope to increase each week until I get to 4-5 thousand. Already I notice I am sleeping better and being a little more social as I pass people in the complex and have a little chat. Hope I keep it up!

  7. Like you (it seems) my mornings are for sitting -- reading, watching, listening -- and my afternoons are for moving -- walking, biking, gardening. Works for me.


Thanks for stopping by! I love to hear from others, and I also love to hear all points of view.. Just leave the profanity and insults at home, OK? Thanks!!