The push for physical activity is ubiquitous. From various headlines to TV ads to the fitness communities of every social media platform, we often see how-tos, tips and tricks, and more on how to become more physically fit, but not much on increasing mental acuity. As important as exercising your body is to your physical health, it can have a huge impact on your mind and your brain. Keeping your brain in shape is essential to combating the decline that can accompany aging. Fortunately, being mentally active may be easier than you think. Read more for how you can use exercise and more to your brain’s benefit.
Raise your heartrate
That push for working out that we constantly see is for good reason. Numerous studies have shown that aerobic exercise promotes grey matter production in the brain, “which is made up of the type of neuron that is responsible for tasks such as processing information and controlling muscles.” The presence of grey matter also helps prevent dementia, making physical activity even more important as you age. Furthermore, just thinking about exercise or certain routine motions can help preserve muscles and muscle memory. If injured, keep imagining yourself working out!
One of the ways to stimulate your brain is simply being social. Even if it’s out of your comfort zone, it’s something to try. Increasing social interactions has a positive impact on the brain. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to get out and participate in social gatherings, whether they are with family and friends or completely new people. Hanging around other people, and actively engaging in social interaction has been linked with keeping degenerative brain diseases at bay, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s understandable that using your brain regularly in conversation aids in maintaining memory and cognitive function as you age.
Learn something new
During the rest of the year, you could join a club or take a class on an interest you have. Besides the socializing that usually occurs if you attend the meetings in person, it’s a great way to keep your mind active with new information. While any type of learning will keep the brain in use, taking a class/joining a club to learn a new skill – like ballroom dancing – will activate a different area of your brain than doing something you already know how to do. Like working out different parts of your body, using different parts of your brain makes for a more complete workout.
It’s a common idea that completing crossword puzzles is good for the brain. Some studies support this notion, reporting that crosswords can delay memory decline and help preserve cognitive function. Besides the crossword, challenge yourself to complete other games that make you think, such as sudoku, large jigsaw puzzles, or our own Kreature Krunch.
There are many ways to help your brain work as well as possible. Just as you work out to keep your muscles from deteriorating, it’s essential to stimulate your brain to make sure that natural aging does not equate to declining. However you keep your brain in use is important to its functioning. If you have more ideas than the ones we’ve listed here, leave us a comment sharing your methods!
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