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cartoon brain lifting weights
Published By Right at Home Caledon on February 20, 2019

Memory, reasoning and speed of thought processing are known to slow with age. That being said, expanding cognitive neuroscience research shows great promise in stretching routine “muscle memory” with new challenges that stimulate brain chemistry and activate fresh cerebral circuits. The neurobiology field called “neurobics” specializes in boosting mental acumen through cognitive exercises like brainteasers, word puzzles and problem solving.

The more you challenge your brain, the more cells and nerve connection pathways you form across your cerebral cortex. Cognitive stimulation builds helpful proteins, which support nerve cell growth and enhance communication between neurons. Instead of gray matter simply dying as you age, challenging your brain can activate new cell growth throughout your lifetime.

Regular cognitive workout can improve your concentration, comprehension and recall in everyday life for things such as remembering people’s names or driving across town. On the other side, being relaxed with mental agility can lead to foggy thinking, impaired judgment, mood swings, anxiety and depression. This proves how important practicing different routines for your brain makes an impact on your mental health. 

Brain Workout Routines 

A number of brain workout routines are recommended to reduce mental slowing:

  • Learn a new skill. Your brain becomes more active when you take up a new hobby or activity such as learning to cook different foods, speak a foreign language, play an instrument or try a new sport.

  • Read and explore. Books, newspapers, magazine articles and other forms of written communication are stimulating for the brain.

  • Write as often as you can. Whether you keep a journal, write emails, jot down memories or create fictional stories – keep at it.

  • Complete crossword puzzles and Sudoku. These brain builders are especially beneficial if you set a time limit and work quickly. Online dictionaries are a great resource for puzzles and word games. Newspapers and specialty books also publish brainteaser games.

  • Play bridge, chess, or board and computer games. Expose yourself to the paces of mental strategy and focus.

  • Sharpen your vocabulary. Do this through a daily words calendar or more challenging reading topics.

  • Continue to socialize and verbalize. Talk with others about world events and issues important to you and your community. You don’t have to be a know-it-all – just stay open to interesting conversations without a need to argue.

  • Participate in brain games. This can be games such as color match, speed match and word-find challenges. While computer-accessed cognition games provide mental stimulation and support short-term memory, a 2014 report by cognition experts from 40 institutions in six countries questions whether digital brain products improve brain functioning overall. The researchers advise caution on expecting these types of brain games to prevent dementia or other types of cognitive decline.

Protecting Your Cognitive Skills

Protecting your brain is important to your health and as you age. Right at Home's home care services can provide older adults with companionship and help with activities and games that boost cognitive skills, or coordinate library trips to find brainteasers, language-learning audio sets and thought-provoking books.

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