According to Institutes such as Johns Hopkins, brain function is intact almost until the end of life. New brain cells and their connections are generated all the time. Keeping brain-fit to access your Personal Retrieval System is vital in order to continue to learn, grow and make contributions to society throughout your life.
Just as the work by Erik and Joan Erikson’s forecasted longevity filled with continuing achievements and contributions by the older population, today’s scientific research backs up their predictions.
But in order to reap the benefits of longevity, you have to practice being brain-fit in order to maintain healthy and on-going brain function. Experts now believe that the more cognitive reserves you create, the better your chances are of having a healthy brain. It’s the old saying, “Use It or Lose It.” As important cardio and weight baring exercises are for your overall health - improving, exercising and recalling your memory is vital to healthy brain function.
Research demonstrates that continuing participation in a range of mentally stimulating activities such as chess and bridge or learning a new language or musical instrument are wonderful ways in which you can contribute toward your brain’s health. The more you engage in challenging your brain, the more new cells and pathways you form.
Joining a community drum circle is excellent activity for staying brain fit and more, as is, playing board games with children, (of course, the more complex the games are, the better). Other ideas for keeping brain-fit include using your non-dominant hand whenever possible. By doing so, you could possibly strengthen pathways in the opposite side of your brain. According to the work done by the late Dr. Katz, keeping your eyes closed while eating might help with forming new cells and pathways devoted to the processing of sensory input.
Besides engaging in new and dynamic ways throughout your life to contribute toward brain health, it is important to socialize, reduce stress, sleep, maintain a healthy heart, be at the right weight for your body type, exercise, (especially walking which improves blood flow), eat healthy, and be aware of which medications block the brain chemical, acetylcholine, which is imperative to memory. (Check with your doctor to find medications which do not affect your memory.)
If the concept of having a healthy brain is new to you, the idea of having to change many things in your life to improve your brain health, might be overwhelming. But if you break everything down into manageable steps, and take one thing at a time, (perhaps start with walking every day), you’ll be contributing toward being more brain fit. And that’s exciting!
Dr. Lawrence Katz, Keep Your Brain Alive