Three Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy!

By

Sam

Bosco

April 14, 2020

From Paralympian and Classroom Champions mentor Sam Bosco

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As a Paralympic cyclist, I know how important it is to keep my brain and body healthy. My brain helps me focus, stay in the zone, and remember my game plan and strategy for when I’m cycling around the track and competing against the world’s best. My brain also helps me wake up in the morning, decide what healthful foods to eat for breakfast, complete my work, talk to friends and family, and make responsible decisions every second and minute of the day.

That’s why it’s important for YOU to make decisions that keep your brain and body healthy. They are both still growing and developing.

Making good decisions now can really impact your future!

I know how important the brain is — especially after having a concussion (brain injury) from a car accident a few years ago. That’s why for Classroom Champions’ Healthy Living Month, I want to share…

3 important ways to keep your developing brain and body healthy!

1. Always wear a helmet: I never cycle without a helmet and encourage you to wear a helmet too! Whether cycling, scootering, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, or whatever activity you like to do, remember to wear your helmet and protect your brain from getting hit or getting hurt.

2. Engage in brain stretching activities, practice making healthy decisions, and check out our “Mindful Minutes”

Doing activities, quizzes, and brain games can be so helpful for your brain. Your brain is a muscle, so just like you would do a pushup to make your arm muscles stronger, we all need to do exercises to work our developing brains. My favorite brain game is a crossword puzzle but I also love some of these cool brain games from Ask, Listen, Learn here.

When we exercise, we also need to stretch. It’s good to do that for the brain too as a way to keep it healthy. One way to stretch your brain is to do meditation or mindfulness that will help you relax your brain and stay focused. It only needs to be a minute! See how some of my fellow Classroom Champions mentors stay mindful for a minute here.

3. Eat and drink healthfully: What we put into our bodies impacts our brain in massive ways! That’s why I make sure to always eat healthful, balanced meals, and drink a lot of water. Things like eating unhealthy foods or underage drinking can negatively impact and even damage your brain and other body parts. It’s hard when you’re out of your home or with people pressuring you to eat or drink something that’s maybe not the best for you, so

it’s important to focus on making the right choices!

April is Alcohol Responsibility Month, so it’s a great reminder to have conversations about saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking. Alcohol can negatively affect your developing brain, body, and your ability to make smart and healthy decisions. It’s also illegal. Our partners at Ask, Listen, Learn have some great resources that will help you make more and more healthy decisions, avoid negative peer pressure, and help friends make healthy decisions too. This way we can keep our brains strong.

Because strong brains help us become strong champions!

*BONUS*

Watch and re-watch Classroom Champions LIVE featuring Ask, Listen, Learn and some of my inspiring USA teammates, like Paralympic track and field athlete and Classroom Champions mentor Markeith Price, to see ways that we stay healthy and make smart decisions. Watch here!

Ask, Listen, Learn is an underage drinking prevention program from Responsbility.org that teaches kids (grades 4–7) what the developing brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what that does to them. It is science-based, which makes it even more interesting and relevant, since so many of the lessons align with what we are already working on in class. The evaluated program not only focuses on how alcohol affects kids’ developing brains, but also addresses communication skills, decision-making skills, and ways to say “NO” to negative peer pressure.

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Samantha “Sam” Bosco is a two time Paralympic bronze medalist in cycling and Classroom Champions mentor. Sammie was born in Anchorage, Alaska with a bowed tibia that was corrected when she was 4 years old, leaving her with a shorter right leg. She was an active kid especially after learning how to ride a bike when she was 6 years old. At age 11, Samantha has surgery to lengthen her leg that went awry, leaving her on crutches and unable to cycle. After turning to swimming, bowling and rowing, Sam went back to her cycling roots and signed up for para cycling in 2013. A car accident and concussion in 2015 almost put Sam’s athletic career on hold, but after training harder than ever, in 2016 Sam qualified for the Paralympic team and won two bronze medals in Rio.