Exercises for the Mind and Brain. – If you don’t use your brain to engage more fully in life, what’s the point of having a healthy brain? The joy of life comes from all the things we humans get to experience – love, learning, discovery, connection, understanding, wisdom, and curiosity. You can nourish your brain by eating well, exercising, relaxing, and sleeping well.
After that, what are you supposed to do with it? Make the most of your life by engaging fully. At work. At play. The love of your life. In order to accomplish that, you must keep your brain active. Nutritional imbalances, hormones, immune and digestive dysfunction, damage to our energy metabolism, toxins, and stress contribute significantly to mental decline with aging.
Also, there is some lack of use that contributes to it. Your muscles need to be used otherwise they will deteriorate. There is a real phenomenon called brain fitness. A study of over 450 adults over 75 years of age found that just reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and board games, playing a musical instrument, or dancing can all decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.5 Mental exercise is also important.
Doing something new, different, and challenging with your brain. Your brain needs to sprout new neural connections and awaken sleeping parts. I learned two thousand Chinese characters in college, which I think helped me memorize all the medical school material. My first basketball game was at forty-five and my first tennis game was at forty-five. It’s a mystery, a complicated world filled with genes and molecules that I spend a lot of time trying to understand. Your personal preferences must be taken into account.
The following are some ideas that can help you get started. The Memory Prescription by Dr. Gary Small, The Better Brain Book by Dr. David Perlmutter, and The Healthy Brain Kit by Drs. Gary Small and Andrew Weil. Mental aerobics can be performed with a variety of other tools. The most important thing is to keep your mind and brain active. Put your creativity to work by writing a journal, painting, making music, or dancing.
Attend lectures or classes in your area to gain new ideas. Consider taking up a new hobby. Don’t use a calculator when doing math. Make sure you memorize all the phone numbers of your friends and your credit card numbers. Visit new places and explore them. Make a Sudoku puzzle, play crossword puzzles, or play word games. Try joining a study group, a book club, or starting a “conversation” dinner club where you pick a topic and everyone has to participate.