We all know the brain is incredibly wondrous and intricate, but what we don’t always consider is that it is also high-maintenance. We need to nurture it with positive thoughts and pleasant images to counter all that is negative and unpleasant in the world around us. We need to feed it a steady stream of new information and give it plenty of water, rest and stimulation. We need to try our best to filter what goes in and optimize what goes out. And, especially as we get older, we need to look for ways to keep it sharp.
Over the next few months we will be sharing with you a 4 part series on ways you can keep your brain sharp!
There are lots of great activities you can do that are believed to be good for your brain. Bear in mind that conventional medicine currently has no cure for dementia and experts warn that programs and treatments that make lofty claims regarding brain preservation are unproven. That aside, the following assortment of activities are considered healthy and can potentially help you to stay sharp:
1) Socializing: Meaningful conversation keeps language skills sharp and social and emotional support are all linked to higher memory retention, improved abstract thinking and overall better mental health.
2) Hobbies or crafts: Try to pick something that you enjoy and also something that requires plenty of hand-eye coordination (i.e., painting, woodworking, knitting)
3) Games and puzzles: A great way to pass the time and challenge your brain (i.e., cards, checkers, chess, Scrabble, Bingo, Suduko, crossword, jigsaw puzzles, and so on!)
4) Music: Playing an instrument, dancing and listening to music are all known to be wonderful sources of inspiration for the brain health!
5) Learning: Learn anything new! A new instrument, new game, new craft, new words, new technology or learn how to operate a new appliance.
6) Read: If you are able, try to read a little every day. Books, articles, instructions and letters from family all qualify. Reading engages and focusses the brain and often teaches us new things!
7) Physical activity: Any sort of moderate activity is good for your whole body, including your brain. Remember, any activity, even sweeping the floor, is better than being sedentary!
If you are reading all these great tips and wishing you had started brain maintenance activities sooner, take heart! It’s never too late to get smart! Try a few mental aerobics and stay tuned for part 2 of our Maintain Your Brain series on Varying the Routine.