Person walking away, forgetting cell phone

It’s no longer a matter of Grandpa forgetting to put on his pants. It seems like everyone at any age these days has had those occasional and frustrating lapses in memory.

Whether it be misplacing the car keys, forgetting the one item that you went to the store for in the first place or — perhaps worst of all — having your spouse remind you that today is your wedding anniversary.  

Since in the past it was typically only the elderly that had those problems, the phrase “senior moment” was coined. And that phrase is now laughingly used to explain away these little hiccups in life.

But underneath the chuckles, we can’t help but slightly worry. With the increasing incidences of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia occurring at seemingly younger and younger ages, there is an underlying fear that these diseases may be starting to affect us.

In most cases there is nothing to worry about. The occasional minor forgetful moment is often due to simply being distracted by trying to do too much in today’s fast-paced society. Traditionally the usual reasons given for them occurring more frequently include:
o stress
o lack of sleep
o depression
o medications

But there is a more likely and overlooked cause, especially if your job requires that you sit or stand for an significant amount of time.

You do not have sufficient blood flowing to your brain.

Now that does not necessarily mean that there is a problem with your heart. More than likely it is because your legs have lost the necessary muscle strength you need to maintain your circulatory system in its fight against gravity.

For many of us this may be a new concept, and one that might not have been thoroughly covered in our high school biology lessons. We just assumed that our bloodstream was one continuous closed circuit, and that the heart beating by itself was keeping everything moving.

The human heart pumps out about 2 ½ ounces of blood each time it contracts. More than 70% of this blood flows down into the lower body, and so even if you had no blood pressure, gravity would ensure that this blood made its way all the way down to your feet. However, getting blood up to the top of your head is much more challenging for the heart. To get sufficient blood flow to the head, the heart needs to create a substantial amount of pressure each time it contracts.

The easiest way to think about this might be to consider a garden hose. You turn the water on and point the hose upward and the water will gurgle out of the hose, rising, perhaps, a few inches into the air. However, if you partially cover the end of the hose with your thumb, you create back pressure and the water will shoot high into the air. Of course, if you partially turn off the water flow, it again becomes difficult to get the water high into the air.

The circulatory system in the body works the same way; you need both a high volume of flow and back pressure to be able to get adequate blood flow up to your head. Without it, blood can pool in the legs, and the amount of blood available to the rest of the body is reduced.

In the absence of good blood flow to your head, your brain struggles to function normally, and you can experience dizzy spells, blurry vision, have difficulty concentrating and can become forgetful.

Soleus muscles pumping veinsMaintaining the back pressure and high flow rate mentioned above is created in your body by the soleus muscles in your lower legs. Located inside of the more visible calf muscles, they contract at regular intervals to help push the pooled blood back up your body and to the heart. Back when most daily work involved physical labor, our soleus muscles would automatically maintain their agility through active movement. But in today’s society that is heavily geared to computer usage — both on the job and in our personal lives — much of our day is often spent sitting down. And all of that idle time causes these critical soleus muscles to weaken and operate nowhere near their needed effectiveness.

But researchers at Binghamton University have discovered a way to restore the soleus muscles while you sit. They’ve applied their years of studies into developing the HeartPartner by Sonostics. The HeartPartner is a passive exercise device that activates the soleus muscles through timed vibrations of a specific frequency while you sit. Not only does the use of this machine help pump out any blood that has pooled in your legs, but it exercises the soleus muscles like any muscle so that, over time, they become stronger and more resilient.

So when these critical lower leg muscles get restored to their proper operating efficiency, your brain can receive all of the oxygen and essential nutrients it needs to perform at full capacity.

And you’ll never have to worry about leaving the house in just your underwear.

 

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