Keeping Your Mind Sharp Helps You Have a Longer, Healthier and Happier Life

Studies have shown that keeping your brain active and engaged with new things may help to live longer, avoid dementia and may even help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  Reading, doing crossword puzzles or engaging in other mentally demanding activities stimulates your brain cells.  This may enhance connection between the cells, slowing the rate of age-associated memory loss.  A study of 801 Catholic priests and nuns, age 65 or older, found that those who spent the most leisure time in activities that demanded thinking – reading books, playing cards, solving crossword puzzles – had half the Alzheimer’s disease risk of those who spent the least time involved in such activities.

Ways to keep that mind of yours sharp:

  • Puzzles and Games – activities that can be new or challenging – chess, checkers, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku are examples – there are numerous sources online for such activities:
    • Pogo.com – various free online games
    • Web Sudoku
    • Online Chess
    • USAToday Daily Crossword Puzzle
    • Daily Jigsaw Puzzle

     

  • Reading – keep your brain guessing by reading not only the newspaper or magazines, but novels – dwelve into the mind of the author of the book and keep your brain stimulated – maybe you’ll learn some new words
  • Stop smoking – you can add memory loss to the long list of health problems that come from smoking – smokers may have twice the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease as do people who have never smoked – stop now — it’s never too late – if you quit smoking now, you can still reduce your risk of memory loss later in life
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Learn a new language – Voila!
  • Physical activity/Manage stress – this stimulates brain growth dfactors and improves circulation and reduces the risk of ministrokes – maintain a regular exercise program – it will help to relieve tension – relieving tension alone can improve your thought patterns – the less tension that you have the sharper your mind will become – you should jog, run, ski, play ball, fish, write, garden, or whatever makes you happy – doing things that you enjoy will help you to keep your mind fresh and clear and your attitude at its best – thinking positive is not only healthy, but it builds a stronger mind with that well adjusted attitude
  • Brain Food Diet –
    • Fruits and vegetables – they are loaded with antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals that protect brain cells from damage from free radicals – eat 5 servings a day – good examples are blueberries, pomegranates, carrots and green leafy veggies
    • Fish – they contain omega-3 fatty acids – a study in Archives of Neurology revealed that people who ate fish one to three times a month had a 40% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those who never ate fish (those who ate fish one a week or more had a 60% lower risk)
    • Drink in moderation – consumption of alcohol – 2 glasses of wine, 2 beers or one drink containing hard liquor daily keeps the brain cell membranes more flexible – consuming greater amounts of alcohol can impair memory and damage brain and other tissues

    I like all games of all kinds, whether it be board games, puzzles, crosswords, sudoku and video games.  I also like to tackle new challenges as well as activites that give me enjoyment like reading, gardening and sports.  Make keeping your brain sharp a fun thing to do.  Something to think about, isn’t it?

    What are your favorites brain activities? (e.g. games, cards, reading, puzzles)

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