Just like your body, the brain needs to flex its muscles to stay healthy. While studies and research cannot guarantee improved results, many show a correlation between challenging your brain and helping to keep it young and fit. Memory loss and dementia may never be fully preventable, but these mental exercises aim to improve or maintain cognitive health.
There are three kinds of mental exercises: memory, reasoning and speed of processing information. Each cognitive function is critically important to brain health as well as functioning in day-to-day life. A few suggested activities for these mental exercises include:
- Learning a new skill such has becoming bilingual, playing an instrument or cooking
- Playing new games with family or friends. Not only are board games and cards excellent opportunities to leisurely challenge brain function, the social interaction also promotes and encourages better brain health.
- Work through puzzles like crosswords, number games or really any mental riddle
- Continue your formal education and/or practice a lifestyle of life-long learning
Fortunately, these exercises are often social, fun and somewhat relaxing. The benefits of these exercises are also correlated to a reduction of brain cell damage often associated with Alzheimers; an increase of brain cell production and brain cell conductivity (read: encouraging brain cells to connect and communicate).
Outside of these mental activities, there are many other ways to encourage brain health including regular exercise, a balanced diet (avoiding too much sugar and trans-fats), engaging socially and getting enough sleep. While these activities are only correlated to improve brain health, it’s absolutely worth trying as it can only lead to a more enriched life and potentially protect the most important organ in the body: the brain.