Total Fitness: Be brain-healthy at any age

Brain-healthy is beautiful.

Sometimes, even when life looks generally great on the surface, we still somehow feel that we are stagnating. That even while working extra hard for that satisfying career, having a fantastic relationship and an established routine with family and friends, our mind seem to clamor for more stimulation.

Keeping our mental faculties in tip-top shape is very important in avoiding degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and we can do this by giving ourselves plenty of opportunities for mental stimulation.  This can be done by using our cognitive skills, testing our powers of recall, improving our memory, and challenging our selves to be more creative in our thinking.

By regularly engaging in the right activities, we can increase our memory, improve our problem-solving skills and boost our creativity. Here are some tips on how to keep our mind active:

1.    Expand your vocabulary. Learning new words not only enriches one’s understanding of the world, but also enhances the brain’s cognitive functions.

2.    Practice yoga. You might be surprised at how strenuous yoga can be. Beyond the physical demands that give your entire body a workout, yoga has great calming and relaxation qualities.

3.    Play video games. Action video games improve eye-hand coordination, improve spatial visualization skills, and increase the number of things that you can visually attend to simultaneously. But here’s the caveat: Video games can be addictive so try to keep it in moderation.

4.    Engage in spelling exercises. Spelling forces you to mentally “see” the word prior to speaking it or writing it down. This exercises several language-related brain areas and circuits.

5.    Run. Lace up your running shoes and get moving. Even if you don’t set your sight on running a marathon, the sport itself can get both your body and mind in shape. Running will increase the levels of oxygen in your brain and flowing through your body. In turn, your body will release more endorphins, which will make you feel energized while producing a sense of pleasure and wellbeing.

You may also opt to sign up for a foreign language class, read a book, solve puzzles, or self-talk. Whatever you do, make sure you keep that brain working and your cognitive skills enhanced. Everybody loves a smart, mentally-agile person – keep that in mind.

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