BrainyEX – The Revolutionary Program That Improves Memory and Slows Dementia

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Memory loss and dementia have long been seen as conditions with little to no treatment solutions, but what if there was a way to slow that down and improve your brain health? With Sundog Rehabilitation’s newest program, BrainyEX, you now have that option.

According to Sarah Pettyjohn, PT, DPT and owner of Sundog Rehabilitation, “The program teaches people how to maximize the blood flow to their brain in order to maximize their memory and their cognition overall.” The program uses the latest research on memory and brain health to integrate exercise with different memory and brain development strategies.

The program was designed by and for middle aged and slightly older adults with a family history of dementia. It is intended to be preventative for the onset of dementia. The classes are taught in groups of four with a dynamic weekly curriculum for a total of eight weeks. Each week, the class goes through a different topic focused on one aspect of brain health and what the student can do about it or how they can improve their function in that area.

Once the course work is complete, participants step into motion and work on cognitive tasks while exercising. The instructor helps the group identify what their optimal level of exercise is and identify ways they can use that in their everyday life. “For example,” said Pettyjohn, “if a patient is prepping for an important meeting, they might be instructed to walk at a certain speed for a certain amount of time within a certain number of minutes prior to their meeting so that their brain is fully oxygenated when the meeting begins. They are then easily able to recall the facts that they need for that meeting.”

For some, just the idea of exercising may be a daunting task. According to Pettyjohn, the exercises look very different for each person’s skill level and will meet the skill level of each participant. She further emphasized that the intent with BrainyEX is to increase blood flow and oxygen levels to the brain. People are encouraged to exercise in whatever way is comfortable and safe for them.

When the exercise begins, the instructor will ask a series of “brain stretches” (recall questions). Brain stretches usually involve remembering facts from that days or a previous day’s lesson, rote memory, a counting task, or a math challenge. Once the optimal oxygenation levels are reached, the class moves on to “brainstorms”. Brainstorms are more challenging memory questions and involve a bit more abstract thinking. This challenges a different part of the memory.  Pettyjohn explained, “It is really more a matter of challenging deeper memories during the brainstorms. This part of the class tends to get a little more conversational where one person’s response will trigger something for someone else in the class.”

The BrainyEx program was designed with prevention in mind, so, what can be done if you already have a diagnosis of dementia or cognitive decline? “We do have one-on-one options available,” said Pettyjohn, “this can be in adjunct to therapy and caters to the individuals pace.” She went on to explain that not only the exercises are catered to the individual but the specific areas of recall. This will allow for a someone who is struggling to remember close friends or family members names to work on that area of memory recall specifically during the course.

Whether you are already experiencing symptoms of dementia or memory loss or have a family history that you want to be proactive about preventing, BrainyEX can help.

You can learn more about the BrainyEX program offered at Sundog Rehabilitation by calling 605-787-2719 or visiting them online at

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