Much is said about the benefits to our health of keeping fit physically, but less information is found about keeping our brains active and healthy. It is really just as important to give our brains some exercise as it is to keep on exercising our body. Exercising the brain prevents it from deteriorating as we age, although some people get dementia or Alzheimer’s well before they can be considered old.
Experts tell us that any activity around thinking and learning are good for the brain and help to protect against dementia. And the more complex that activity is and the more it challenges us, the better it is. Frequency is also important. Doing one exercise a month is useless, but doing them every day or two will stimulate the brain well. So how do you exercise your brain?
Choose a variety of activities, but if you have never done any before and they seem hard, choose easy ones and work your way up. You could –
- Start a new hobby.
- Take a course to learn a new skill such as a language or how to play an instrument.
- Get someone to show you something such as how to work a computer or cook a new recipe.
- Read different types of literature.
- Do different kinds of puzzles such as crosswords, Sudoku and even jigsaw puzzles.
- Play cards or board games.
- Go to the theatre or a museum regularly.
- Do volunteering of some kind.
- Join a club – talk to as many other people as possible.
- Take an interest in a sport. Even if you can’t play it you can help out at the canteen.
- Get physical exercise which promotes circulation and good health.
- Listen to different kinds of music.
- Do something different or go somewhere different every week. This will stimulate your brain as it gives you something else to think about apart from what you have become used to.
- If you are computer literate, there are many different kinds of brain exercises available on the Internet. Just don’t allow yourself to become addicted to computer games, it can spoil all your relationships as you’ll be hunched over that computer day and night.
Brain training programmes have the ability to improve cognitive function of the brain, but there is no proof that they will prevent dementia. However, doing at least some of the above will stimulate your interest in life and help you to keep busy, especially if you are a retired person.
Mothers of young children may find it difficult to get any spare time for training their brain, but the mere act of raising children will most certainly keep your brain active, so younger mothers don’t have to worry too much.