Use It or Lose It (Your Brain, that is) | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Use It or Lose It (Your Brain, that is)

We all know that if we exercise our bodies, our muscles and bones will stay strong, right? Did you know that your brain needs exercise, too?

Brains.org, a "website for people involved in the education and parenting of brains of all ages," says that you can easily increase your memory and enhance alertness. As an added bonus for those of us of a (ahem) "certain" age, we can stave off hardening of our brain cells just like we can take steps to avoid hardening of the arteries. In fact, many of the same pointers work for both.

"15 Ways to Hack Your Brain for a Better Life" offers some great advice, including:

1. Exercise: You knew it was good for your muscles, but the brain? Absolutely! More than 20% of the body's blood and oxygen go directly to the brain (without passing GO or paying $200). Exercise, particularly cardio training, effectively increases the flow to the brain, keeping it a well-oiled machine. But if you'd like something a little more Zen, try Yoga. Many of the Yoga poses, like Downward Facing Dog, are specifically engineered to get blood to your brain faster, by positioning the head below the heart. But if you're really pressed for time, something as simple as opening a window and getting fresh air can give your brain the extra juice it needs.

and

5. Play Games: Not Hide n' Seek. Studies with dementia patients have shown that playing word games and puzzles can increase and even restore mental cognitive abilities. The crossword, a pub quiz, or Soduku: all these fun activities can keep your grey matter in the pink. And the best part is that you don't actually need to know anything. This is one instance where winning doesn't matter, because your brain responds to the attempt to solve the problem, not the knowledge stored in your head. Probably the best brain games are those with strategic goals like Chess, Risk, and Stratego, as the objectives are in a constant flux, and require more activity from the brain.

Read all 15 tips here.

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