Although I am all about food as the first line of health defense, the evidence continues to show that exercise is parallel to keeping our minds and bodies strong as new exercise movements crop up all over the world.  One of the most inspiring sessions that I attending at last weekend’s Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (#FNCE) in Philadelphia was called Strong Women, Synergies for a Healthier Future (disclosure: this is a new initiative by Pepsico aimed at 40-something women).  I am profoundly interested in women of this “special age” as not only am I of this age, but I am compiling research for a new book project.  As I listened to the panelists talk about empowering women in their 40’s to take charge of their health in new and innovative ways, I was impressed by a New York University professor who spoke about her neuro-research and how physical activity profoundly affects cognitive function – with better memory, recall and focus (I could use that!) Although it sounded like nothing that new , as she described her latest research and how she got her students up and moving in the classroom with a workout, which combines INTENTION and ACTION with maritial arts, yoga, dance and verbal self-affirmations called “intenSati”, I became intrigued.  I had never heard of it – have you?


Physical activity is “good for your brain!” the NYU scholar said emphatically.  Then she got us all to our feet and we began bouncing in place to music.  As we followed her punching out in front and then up toward the ceiling, the instuctor had us repeat after her.  She said, “Yes, yes, yes, yes!” —  and we said “Yes, yes, yes, yes!” in a repetitive rhythme.   We pushed out and she said, “I can get what I want!” and we said, “I can get what I want!”    Although screaming out the affirmations made me feel silly and self-conscious, it was empowering to use my voice as my heart rate sped up.  I am not sure if it was the group support or the research behind the fact that  it changes your brain to get up and  moving or the adrenline rush of working out in my fancy shoes in a convention center, but this activity got me thinking that we need to use our voices to proclaim what we want and change the way we think about ourselves and what we can accomplish.  It’s empowering to say, Yes!”  I look forward to taking it home to  Chicago…

Check out intenSati at  Follow @intenSati.