Give Your Brain a Workout and Make Yourself Smarter!
Published On: 11-15-2011 11:06pm
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Most of us know that exercise strengthens our muscles and increases our flexibility. Weight workouts add lean muscle to our bodies and help us retain more muscle in later years. Similarly, our brains need workouts to say healthy and fit as we age since, as we get older, our brains can atrophy making it more difficult to perform mental tasks. Researchers now believe that following a brain healthy lifestyle and performing regular brain exercises can also stimulate the brain.
This is of interest to me because I am a retired nurse, plus I have an aging mother who has short-term memory loss. I am sure many others have loved ones touched either by memory loss or diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
”We now know the brain is plastic, or resilient enough that we can actually make ourselves smarter. Even in cases of Alzheimer’s disease, some normal brain cells remain, and research suggests they can be stimulated to create new connections”, stated Dr. Robert Bender, MD, medical director of the Johnny Orr Memory Center and Healthy Aging Institute in Des Moines, Iowa. Now, the question to ask is, “How can we do this?”
It has been discovered that in order to stimulate the brain, one must do new things. Here is a listing of some ways we can establish and strengthen brain-cell connections:
Cultivate interests in fresh new areas, such as art, word games, or jigsaw and crossword puzzles. Learn another language.
- Interact with a variety of people. Socialize and converse to avoid monotony and sharpen the mind.
- Read appropriate material. Tell someone about what you have read.
- Recall and relate news items from radio or TV newscasts to exercise your short- and long-term memory.
- Use your non-dominant hand (left hand if you are right-handed, or vice versa) to operate the TV remote control, to use the telephone, or to brush your teeth.
- Learn about and travel to places of interest.
- Cultivate spirituality.
I personally do several activities on the above list hoping to postpone brain atrophy indefinitely. I also use my brain thinking of and creating original, unique, and practical greeting / note cards. Check out one of my latest creations above.