MSU prof’s book builds brains

There are ways to exercise your brain as well as your body as you age, said Terry Eckmann, who has written her first book, “101 Brain Busters.”

Eckmann, a Minot State University associate professor of physical education and international speaker, was asked to write the book after officials from Healthy Learning saw her speak at a conference. The book was published by Healthy Learning this month and is available from either Eckmann or at (

Eckmann said the book combines brain-based research with practical tips for people to have a healthy body and brain.

The 101 tips “all fall under physical activity, mental stimulation, socialization, healthy diet, stress management and spirituality,” said Eckmann. “Those are all cognitive domains that have been identified that if you engage in those, you have a healthier brain for life.”

One of the “brain busters” she suggests is to sit less often and move more. Eckmann said it’s been estimated that the average person spends up to 70 or 80 percent of his day sitting down. When that happens, blood pools in the legs, she said, and the brain doesn’t get as much energy as it needs.

“Moving activates the brain while sitting deactivates the brain,” she said.

Other tips in the book include doing crossword puzzles or sudoku to stimulate different parts of the brain.

“Another brain energizer would be to drink water,” she said, adding that the brain is made up of approximately 80 percent water and functions less well when it’s dehydrated.

People can also exercise their brain by doing the usual things in a new way, such as by taking a different route to work, walking through different aisles in the grocery store or even rearranging their kitchen cupboards so it looks different.

People can also play board or computer games with friends to exercise their brains and eat a healthy diet.

Eckmann said she has spent a lot of time doing research and presenting on the importance of exercise and brain health. Many of her presentations have been to people who work at long-term care facilities or nursing homes as well as health care organizations. She focuses on practical applications that they can use to keep their own brains and those of their clients healthy.

The average life expectancy is approximately 78.7 years, and research indicates that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Genetics are beyond one’s control; but individuals have options, and it is the choices they make that become determinants of their lifestyle. People are living longer, and “101 Brain Boosters” shares key strategies to enhance learning throughout the lifespan.

“‘101 Brain Boosters’ embraces my passion for lifelong learning and a healthy brain and body,” Eckmann said. “It is my hope that this book serves as a resource for all lifelong learners who embrace a brain-healthy lifestyle. May everyone live longer and better.”

Eckmann said people can purchase the book directly from her by sending a check for $24 to Terry Eckmann, 1125 Sunrise Court SE, Minot, ND 58701. They can also purchase it at ( The book was released this month.