‘Holy Mackerel’ Sudoku is good for ‘Brain Fitness’

Director of Marketing for Interim Healthcare Ellen Jenning gave a presentation on Brain Fitness to a group of participants at the Marshall County Council on Aging Life Enrichment Center Monday.
By: 
Jamie Stoner
Staff Writer

Director of Marketing for Interim Healthcare Ellen Jenning gave a presentation on ‘Brain Fitness’ to a group of participants at the Marshall County Council on Aging Life Enrichment Center Monday. Jenning’s presentation discussed four areas to focus on for improved brain function, but narrowed in on the area of mental exercises and taught the group how to play ’Sudoku’.

The four areas to focus on for improved brain function were physical exercise, mental exercise, good nutrition, and stress reduction.

Physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain and blood carries oxygen. Jenning shared that good nutrition was also essential to healthy brain function. She shared that vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants and are good for effectively dealing with free radicals. She also shared that omega3 fatty acids were beneficial for brain function, “Salmon, tuna and Holy Mackerel! are good for the brain, too!” Jenning inspired a room full of laughter as she kept the class informative but interesting.

Jenning shared that it is important to challenge the brain with mental exercises. “Once you get good at a task, it is beneficial to either increase the level of difficulty of the task or change the task to continue to challenge the brain. Our brains get accustomed to the same skill sets and functions. It is good for our brain to learn new tasks.”

Jenning led the group through a ‘very easy level’ puzzle to teach them the basics of the ever popular number themed challenge ‘Sudoku’. “Games like ’Sudoku’ keep our brains sharp.” Sudoku is a number puzzle challenge where the participant must place numbers 1 through 9 only once in each row, column, and box of a 3x3 challenge. Jenning walked the group through a puzzle teaching them step by step how to implement a variety of strategies to complete the task.

Jenning began with, “USE A PENCIL!” laughing with the group as she passed out pencils. Her second piece of advice, “Do not guess. If you need more information, leave that box blank and come back to it.” Everyone had their pencil and puzzle in hand. Jenning began, “Despite popular opinion, you don’t have to start with 1. Pick a number to start with that occurs multiple times.”

Though several in attendance expressed hesitancy at first, their confidence grew as Jenning led the group through the puzzle. Jenning shared, “When we start to learn something new and we get frustrated and want to give up - that’s our brain saying we don’t want to do this. But it’s good to challenge ourselves.”