Don’t Forget to exercise your Brain!
We all know exercise is good for our bodies; but do you know the same is true for your brain? Just like any other muscle, the brain can get in shape, be strengthened and developed with use –exercise.
The human brain is made up of nerve cells called neurons; they are connected by synapses, which transport information from one neuron to the other. Just like other muscles and organs, the brain changes with age; synapses fire more slowly, some cells die off and the overall mass of the organ shrinks. However, advances in brain imaging and neuroscience, coupled with studies of twins, have shown that not all change is genetically predetermined or inevitable.
This new understanding of the brain and its response to exercise has created an entire new industry based on a word coined by Drs. Katz and Rubin in 1999: neurobics. This is a term for mental exercises which are used to increase the range of mental motion by activating different parts of the brain. But while neurobics involves a specific set of exercises, studies have shown that any exercising of the brain may not only stave off brain degeneration, but in many cases also reverse memory loss and improve mental agility.
Maintain Your Brain: Other Simple Strategies
Don’t be isolated. Get involved in groups or social organizations, and participate in stimulating conversation that strengthens family and friendships.
Participate in regular physical activities. Walk, ride a bicycle, dance, do aerobic exercises. Challenge your brain by challenging your body.
Learn something new. Take a class in something that interests you, read and write every day, learn a second language, learn sign language, learn to play a musical instrument.
Play board games or brain exercise-based video games, do crossword puzzles or challenging word and number games.
Stimulate the senses: travel, learn to relax with music, meditate, do yoga or tai chi, etc.
Feed the Brain: Eat more salmon, sardines, herring, walnuts and unsalted nuts, increase your intake of vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables, decrease your intake of processed food and fast foods; make it a priority to sit-down with others for at least one meal a day.
Get enough sleep. A well-rested brain is a healthy brain.
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