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Your brain is a muscle and like any muscle, using it keeps it in shape. When muscles aren’t used, they atrophy and lose muscle tone. The same is true for your brain. It’s important to retain your cognitive nimbleness and keep your mind alert so that you can continue to perform mental tasks with ease.
Here are some strength training exercises designed to keep your brain active and in shape as you age.
Learn new things.
Experts believe that when the brain is passive and unengaged, it will atrophy. The brain wants to learn new things and the best way to keep your brain healthy – just like with your other muscles – is to make it work. Choose something new to learn that is enjoyable to you and attack it with gusto. Check out your local Adult Continuing Education department to find classes for foreign languages, cooking, art, business, or fitness.
Solve math problems in your head.
Forgo the use of pencil, paper, or calculator and use that brain to solve simple math problems. Make this a regular part of your daily brain exercises. Increase the difficulty as needed or try walking while solving those math problems. Don’t fret if you make mistakes or it seems to take a while before reaching the answer. The key is to not give up. This is good for your brain.
Engage your senses.
All five of our senses utilize different parts of the brain, so choose activities that depend upon using your senses. Cooking classes are excellent choices because they use sight, smell, and taste.
Practice your hand-eye coordination.
Putting a puzzle together, knitting, crochet, painting, or drawing are just some examples of hobbies involving hand-eye coordination. Even the simple act of handwriting a letter can assist in strengthening your coordination and your brain function.
Switch it Up.
Move your watch to the other wrist. If you usually wear it on the right, switch it to your left. Start wearing it like that and it tricks your brain into thinking differently. Helpful over time to build a stronger brain.
Reading is one of the easiest brain exercises to implement.
It’s a simple concept we learned back in elementary school, yet as life gets in the way, taking time to read a novel or a magazine goes by the wayside. Reading engages your sense of sight but it also engages your imagination as you picture what’s happening in the story. Reading also increases your focus and attention as well as your knowledge and vocabulary. Not a fan of novels? Instead, choose a favorite magazine, crossword puzzles, or logic problems. You’ll reap the same benefits no matter what the format is.
One quick note: Memory game software is not found to have quite the same effects as these suggestions above. Real-world activities, such as finishing a Sudoku puzzle or driving home on a different route, are more effective at maintaining cognitive function and won’t cost much money to complete.
No matter what your current age, now is the time to care for your brain and maintain your cognitive function. Enjoy learning and integrating these fun activities into your life.