Use it or lose it: Keeping the Brain Active

July 12, 2013

brain exercisesAs we get older, making an effort to keep both body and mind fit and healthy becomes more important. Studies have found that those who are over 65 years of age who engage in mental activities on a daily basis boost the brain’s functioning’s which is vitally important for a number of reasons.

Partaking in activities that are mentally challenging not only helps exercise one of the most important organs in our body, the brain, but also improves one’s intelligence, memory, concentration capacity. Furthermore, exercising the mind helps reduce stress, tension and even boredom as well as improving a person’s capacity to make decisions, recall dates, facts and memories. Moreover, those who work to keep their mind active avoid depression and emotional instability.  There are many simple ways to keep the brain active and defy the aging process:

Ways to Engage Your Brain

  • A simple solution is learning something new. Many specialists recommend learning a language although it is not necessary to become fluent, learning a few words a week can have a positive effect. Activities such as starting a dance or swimming class, partaking in a sewing or wood work short course all easily add to keeping the brain fit and active.
  • Pastimes which require simultaneous concentration and harmonious physical activity such as Yoga, Pilates or Thai Chi are fantastic stimulants of the mind. The repetition of exercises combined with the need to concentrate to carry out physical movements is an excellent alternative if studying something new does not appeal.
  • Reading is one of the most beneficial activities in order to keep the brain active. Reading newspapers, books or magazines stimulates the imagination, creativity and expands one’s vocabulary.
  • If you want to exercise your mind whilst having fun at the same time, take part in activities which require coordination such as dancing and choreographies. Even if it is not something you have done previously, you’ll be surprised by how rapidly you pick up the movements and how much enjoyment you get from it.
  • Crosswords, word searches, Soduku, puzzles and spot the difference activities are excellent ways of keeping the mind active and contribute to better memory and concentration.
  • Creating a sense of order in your life will mean time spent searching for lost items such as keys and glasses can be avoided. Allocate a place where important items are always left to avoid time-wasting and potential frustration when searching for misplaced items!

Like any part of the body when it is not exercised and used the brain becomes idle and loses speed and flexibility. Incorporating activities to keep the brain active into your lifestyle through any of the suggested means can lead to longer and greater enjoyment of mental clarity. Improved mental health greatly improves quality and enjoyment of life. This of course is accompanied by a good diet, regular exercise and how much you rest which also form an integral part of a healthy brain.

Make a conscious effort to challenge yourself mentally; your brain still has the capacity to learn and grow and you will reap positive benefits.

 

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