Photo Credit: Pic Jumbo
Are you doomed to slower reflexes and poor memory as you age?
Science says, “Not necessarily!”
Every person’s brain, like their body, is uniquely different. Not everyone is subject to the slowing down of mental faculties that tends to come with aging.
The Benefits of Brain Exercises
Like every muscle, the brain needs stimulation and exercise to sustain its function. Exercising the brain has as many benefits as exercising the body: You’ll be able to remember things later on in life, you won’t forget as many details about other people, and you won’t have as many ‘senior moments’ as perhaps you may fear.
But brain training isn’t limited to those who are approaching their golden years. Experiments with multiple sclerosis patients with cognitive damage have shown that doing activities specifically tied to brain training can help the brain develop stronger connections. Their brains literally became stronger through the power of exercise. There’s also a suggestion that doing brain exercises early in life can expand the amount of cognitive reserve you have later in life (i.e. how much your brain can bounce back as you age).
Some Brain Exercises You Can Complete On Your Own
Not all brain exercises need a machine or website to provide benefits to their users. Neuronation and Lumosity have become popular in recent years, and have proven very popular but these activities still help give your brain a boost:
1. Reading. What’s the last full book you read? The more you stimulate your brain by learning, the harder and longer your brain will be able to work.
2. Protecting your head. Wear a helmet when riding and take proper precautions if you think you may have a risk of a concussion. This endangers your brain health more than anything else.
3. Staying in touch with friends. Maintaining social ties is extremely important. Having people around to talk to and challenge you keeps your brain working in a way that it wouldn’t ever work when you’re by yourself.
4. Talk about problems. Holding on to problems is much more troublesome to your health than just annoying you in the moment. It can lead to serious stress, and can even impair your brain’s abilities later in life. So, if you’re feeling depressed or have a mental problem you want to address, bring it up sooner rather than later. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and potential harm to your brain.
5. Try new things. Force your brain to be creative, whether by building something in your backyard, learning a language or playing a game of squash for the first time. It’ll do your brain good!
6. Quit smoking. This decision benefits many parts of your body, but the fact that your brain will potentially reverse deterioration is a very good benefit!
7. Sleep more. Sleep doesn’t just restore your body. Your mind also benefits from having enough time to rest through the night.
Do you do brain exercises? If so, what have you found benefits you most?
Share your story in the comments!