One in ten Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to soar in the coming years as the younger Baby Boomers continue to age. Researchers are hard at work trying to solve the complex puzzles of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and while breakthroughs are becoming more frequent, these devastating diseases still have no cure.
However, research does show that keeping your brain active may reduce the risk of developing dementia or delay its onset. Exercising your mental muscles may build reserves of brain cells and connections, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and this has a protective effect against dementia.
Here, then, are some great ways to keep your noodle active to help protect against age-related brain damage.
Learn Something New
Learning new things builds connections between neurons in your brain and strengthens the brain’s networks.
- Study a foreign language.
- Learn how to play an instrument.
- Learn a new crafting skill, like sewing, knitting, woodworking, or calligraphy.
- Experiment with new recipes.
- Try your hand at growing exotic plants.
- Take an interesting course at the community college or university.
- Learn how to use Facebook or another social networking site.
Play Games and Solve Puzzles
Puzzles and games exercise your mental muscles to help keep your brain working like a well-oiled machine.
- Take up Sudoku.
- Challenge a friend to a daily game of chess.
- Do the daily crossword.
- Play board games or card games with friends.
- Play memory games or matching games.
- Solve logic puzzles.
- Attend a trivia game night.
Keep Those Wheels Turning
Staying curious and following your bliss are important ways to help prevent or slow the onset of dementia. Strive to feed your brain every day. Read books. Write your memoir. Attend plays, concerts, or lectures. Think about the things that interest you or that you wish you knew more about. Then, set out to learn.
The Internet is a goldmine for puzzles, games, lectures, tutorials, and other brain-strengthening resources. If you or your aging loved one isn’t computer savvy, learning some basic computer skills is a great place to start building and strengthening those neural connections for better overall brain health.