Improve Brain Function with 3 Tips to Use it or Lose it
Brain function , like your musculoskeletal function, can be summed up with the old adage “Use it or lose it baby!” Your brain responds to exercise. The more you use it the higher it will function. Over 40% of older adults suffer to some degree from age related memory loss or dementia. Research is showing that exercising your brain helps maintain your memory.
There are many things you can do to challenge your brain to keep it sharp but there are a few characteristics of brain exercises that are helpful to keep in mind:
1. Try something new: whatever you choose should be something new that requires you to learn.
2. Try something challenging: whatever you choose should be something that challenges you and requires mental effort.
3. Try something interesting: whatever you choose should interest you, engage you, and should be fun for you. Studies show the more you enjoy what you are doing the better your brain functions. Plus, the more you enjoy what you are doing the more likely you will be to continue to do the activity and continue giving your brain a workout.
- Play music
- Do puzzles, play board games, and add crossword puzzles to your routine.
- Add a fish tank to your home and fill it with various colorful fish.
- Decorate your home, use colors, patterns and decor that you love and that will engage your senses.
- Plant a beautiful garden to look at outside your window. Include bird feeders and other attention grabbing elements.
5. Computerized Brain Fitness Exercise Programs: There are actually computerized brain fitness programs. An early UCLA study are shows that using these programs significantly improved both memory and language skills in as little as six months of routine play time. The study is small and more research needs to be done but previous research supports the use of brain exercise to retain brain function.
6. Physical Exercise: The Journal of Neurology reported just this week that physical exercise does impact brain function in the elderly. Their test results did show less brain shrinking in elderly patients who participated in regular exercise. This study, however, refutes the use of cognitive brain exercise and stimuli to keep the brain from shrinking as we age. They stat that further large-scale tests need to be done for this study to be definitive and I know there are a number of such studies currently in progress.
Regardless of study results and testing outcomes the benefits of a brain function workout, keeping a stimulating environment and participating in physical exercise are extensive. Keeping your brain in the best possible condition it can be is simply a matter of using it. Flex your brain muscle, enjoy a full life and use it or lose it baby!