Article in WHOLife - Wholeness and Wellness Journal of Saskatoon May/June 2018

Ageless Grace®

Changing your aging brain can be as simple as child's play!


A woman hears noise coming out of the exercise room and it does not sound like a senior’s class – it sounds like a ROCK PARTY!  "What is going on? What is instigating all the hoots, hollers and laughter?" she wonders.

The 45 minute class finishes and she can see the participants start to file out of the room with this glow about them. They are all chatting and still laughing. There is certainly a mixture of people, the the youngest may be 55 and the oldest may have crossed the century mark. There are students with canes, walkers, wheel chairs and people just walking out – everyone seems energized and has a smile on their face. She decides to find out more. She comes to the desk and asks me, "Can exercise be fun?" I answer "Yes!" and I explain the benefits of our newest program. She is excited and I see her at the next class.

The program is called Ageless Grace Brain Health Fitness® and a Certified Educator teaches students the 21 Simple Tools for Lifelong Comfort and Ease™.  Ageless Grace is newer to Canada (2012) and was recently introduced in Saskatoon at ProActive Fitness located at #5-3602 Taylor Street East.  ProActive Fitness owner, Shelley Turk, is a Functional Aging Specialist and has recently with her staff become Certified Ageless Grace Educators. Shelley is looking forward to sharing Ageless Grace with the Saskatoon community .

The program is based on neuroplasticity.  Neuroplasticity means you can actually change the form and function of your brain and central nervous system. Dr. Sarah McKay and other scientists believe the best exercise for changing the brain is physical exercise; although, it’s not just about physical activity, but consciously choosing to do something new, or in a different way, in order to engage your brain. Knowing how to stimulate neuroplasticity can directly affect the quality of the rest of your life, regardless of your age! 

Barbara Kunz, a Certified Ageless Grace Trainer, says, “We sit to do Ageless Grace, not because we are “old”, but to cause the brain to figure out how to do these exercises from a chair rather than standing. Sitting also engages the core muscles, vital organs, systems of the body, and energy centers. Add your favorite music, and it stimulates your brain even more".

According to Dr. Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself, we must learn new things in order to feel fully alive.  When we learn, we alter genes in our neurons, which can change our brain.

Neuroscientists now know we can still develop and change our brains, no matter how old we are.  We can learn through play to restore, maintain and develop NEW neural pathways by doing something physical we don't know how to do -- or by doing something we already know how to do, differently!

Larry Chambers, Scientific Advisor to the Alzheimer Society of Canada states, “Cognitive aging and forgetfulness can be decreased as we age by exercise, sleeping and eating properly and getting your daily dose of sunshine. Also being active social, mentally and physically helps with the slow retreat of cognitive aging.”

As the Tools of Ageless Grace strengthen these connections they enhance five functions of the brain — Strategic Planning, Memory and Recall, Analytical Thinking, Creativity and Imagination, and Kinesthetic Learning. For short we call it SMACK – the sound of a neuron firing!

Students are coached to practice these exercise Tools for just 10 minutes a day in the comfort of their own home. With easy to remember names like “Spaghetti Spine” or “Juicy Joints,” the Tools are based on everyday movements that are natural and organic. The tools create new neural pathways by practicing physical and mental skills we do not already know how to execute.  It is fun and beneficial!

Here is a testimonial from an Ageless Grace Student who completed her 21 Day Challenge – doing Ageless Grace for just 10 minutes a day in the comfort of her own home. 

“You asked us to let you know when we complete the 21 day challenge. Well I did and I absolutely love it! I feel like it wakes up my body. I have kept it up daily since the class & will continue to do so. It is now the first thing I do when I get up in the morning.  I could never get my left hand into a fist because of arthritis and now I can. Also I have less pain in my foot then when I started.  I am now a strong advocate of Ageless Grace.  So glad I went to your class...thanks a bunch!” Claudette

I hope you experience an Ageless Grace class soon!

Changing your aging brain can be as simple as child's play!