Vital Element of Brain Health: Mental Stimulation

In honor of November being Alzheimer’s Awareness month (alz.org), HealthyReader will be posting four articles regarding vital elements of brain health that are recommended to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is the third in the series; rev up those brain cells with exercises specific to them.

Mental Stimulation

Have you ever heard the phrase, “use it or lose?” Well, guess what, it applies to your brain too. I’ve started to exercise my mind with Lumosity.com. They have a free and a paid subscription option, if you want to give that a try. However, be prepared to be surprised by your lack of brain power. I have found out I am at the bottom performance percentile of every category…or maybe that’s just to prove to me how much their help is needed? I wonder…  It does provide you with the ability to track your improvement over time, and I have slowly made progress.

There are other options for you to give a shot to flex that brain of yours without as much structure and perhaps even more fun:

  • Practice memorization:  use flash cards, name all 50 states and their capitals (or flowers), or learn all the words to a poem or song.
  • Strategy games: these could be board games, card games, checkers, or chess. Whether played virtually or in person, all games where out-witting your competition can ignite your intellect.
  • Learn something new: try a foreign language, a new hobby, or playing an instrument.
  • Puzzles: crossword puzzles, find the word puzzles, Soduko puzzles, or Words With Friends, anyone?
  • Vary your habits: take a new route to the store, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, rearrange the files of your digital photos. If you can perform a common task on “auto-pilot” stop and think about how you can switch it up a bit.

Even small changes provide an opportunity to boost brain function; plus when combined with a regular exercise plan and healthy diet mentioned in our previous Vital Element of Brain Health articles you’re taking a balanced approach to mental fitness. Tell us what you’re doing to spark your smarts!

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