Written by Julie Taylor
Brain Exercises That Need No Computer
Neurologists and therapists in neuro-rehab departments urge us to work on puzzles and play mentally-challenging games.
TIP! Keep a book of brain teasers handy so you always have something around to stimulate your brain.
– Memorize and recite short lists.
– Use the hand opposite to the one you tend to favor for daily chores, such as brushing your teeth, cleaning, or even writing. Switching hands activates a different set of brain cells, and helps you develop more nerve connections in the brain.
– Perform a routine task with your eyes closed (but not driving, of course!). By depending on your sense of touch, hearing and smell, you’ll exercise different brain cells.
– After you read an article in a newspaper or magazine, try to recall details of the story.
– Start a new hobby that challenges your dexterity or mental ability. Study a foreign language, learn to play an instrument, or learn a craft, such as pottery.
– Get lots of social interaction with others who like to discuss interesting topics.
The idea is to keep your brain active all throughout your life. Don’t be tempted to just sit back and let your brain become lazy — you need to stimulate it on a regular basis.
The exercises above are a good start, but that’s only part of the solution to keeping your brain healthy. There’s one more very important thing you need to do.
Studies have clearly shown that a major cause of mental decay are free-radicals in the body, which attack your cellular structure and can damage brain cells. Here’s how.
Inside every cell are hundreds of mitochondria, which are sometimes called “cellular power plants” because their main function is to convert nutrients into energy. These tiny organisms provide the fuel your brain cells need every day so that you can learn and store new information and recall facts.
However, mitochondria are vulnerable to attack by free-radicals. When mitochondria are damaged, your brain cells can become “sluggish” and your mental processes slow down.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your diet includes antioxidants to fight the rampaging free-radicals in your body. A good source of antioxidants is chlorophyll, which has been proven to help protect brain cells.
In a study published in 2000, the authors noted: “Our results show that chlorophyll is highly effective in protecting mitochondria, even at a low concentration.”
You can get chlorophyll in your diet by eating dark green leafy vegetables, but the highest concentration of chlorophyll is found in tablet or powder form. This green algae is available in tiny tablets, making it easy for you to get the nutrients and antioxidants you need to nourish your brain cells and protect them from harmful free-radicals.
You now have a two-pronged strategy for keeping your brain sharp as you age:
1) Exercise and stimulate your brain to keep building connections between cells, and
2) Supplement your diet with a source rich of chlorophyll to fight the free-radicals that can damage your brain cells.
These two steps will go a long way toward helping you avoid the fate of so many people who can never seem to remember where they left the keys. Although, to be honest, I still can’t remember where I left my keys! And for that – along with just about everything else – you will need to put in place a strategy…
I have learned that if I always make a point of putting them on the hall table, that’s where they’ll be. So I can’t remember it, but I do know that – most times – that’s where they’ll be. And I keep a spare car key in my purse and in my bedside table, just in case. And another with my best friend. And another in my handbag!