Most of us know the important role exercise plays in staying healthy. But did you know your brain needs a daily workout too?
The brain is like a muscle. Like any other muscle in our body, it needs exercise to remain strong. Giving your brain a workout may prevent memory loss. Many experts believe it also helps delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The difference between working out your brain and exercising muscles in the body lies in repetition. While the muscles in your body gain strength when you repeat the same forms of exercise, the brain does not. To give your brain a true workout, you need to constantly be learning new things.
Training Your Brain to Prevent Memory Loss
The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention organization tells us that learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 70%. This is a surprisingly significant statistic for an illness that currently has no treatment or cure.
What can you do to keep your brain healthy?
Here are five suggestions to consider:
- Discuss Current Events: Reading about current events in your local paper and discussing them with friends challenges your brain. From politics to global warming, staying on top of what is going on in the world may help prevent memory loss.
- Tackle a New Language: Retirement years might provide you with an opportunity to travel, maybe even internationally. This might be the perfect time to plan a trip to an overseas destination you’ve always wanted to visit and learn the country’s language before you head out. You can purchase DVDs online to help you or visit your local library to explore what options they might have.
- Write that Novel: If you’ve always dreamed of writing a novel, tackling it might just help pump up your grey matter. Planning the storyline and laying out your plot twists give your brain a real workout.
- Make Music: Taking time out to learn a new musical instrument or to play one you already know involves multiple parts of your brain. It can be the equivalent of circuit training for your brain!
- Get Physical: From Chair Yoga to Tai Chi, learning a new form of exercise doubles the health benefits you receive. Your brain gets a boost from tackling something new and your body gets the workout it needs.
What about all those Brain Apps?
We couldn’t talk about brain health without addressing the issue of brain apps. Most of us have seen the commercials online or on television for programs claiming to keep your brain healthy.
Although the Federal Trade Commission recently charged Lumosity and other developers with false advertising, researchers believe the brain app effectiveness issue is far from resolved. Many still believe there are benefits to working these games and are continuing to explore methods for proving how valuable they are at protecting cognitive health.