7 Brain Exercises To Stay Mentally Active

If your brain remains inactive it will lead to cognitive decline

We always talk about exercising the body. But what about the brain, the most complex and important organ? It’s in charge of everything you do, say, and feel. Even when you’re sleeping, the brain is hard at work.

The brain gets stronger the more you use it. In fact, doing mental activities is one of the top ways to slow down cognitive decline, a natural part of aging. You’ll also ward off dementia, a general term for the symptoms of mental function loss. This happens when neurons, or nerve cells, die or stop working, or have a hard time communicating.1 2

Dementia affects 50% of people aged 85 and older, but it’s not normal. You can prevent loss of memory, focus, and cognition! Diet and exercise are key but so is mental activity. That’s why it is so important to exercise your brain. The options are endless, making it easy

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for anyone to challenge their noggin. The best part? It can be a lot of fun, no matter how old you are.3

1. Make Creative Projects

Creative are fun and a brainy activity

To help neurons communicate better, be creative. This can be anything from scrapbooking to knitting. By making visual art, you’ll strengthen neural activity and psychological resilience. Don’t focus on creating a masterpiece. Instead, just have fun! Challenge yourself to new techniques and experiences, even if you’re not that artistic.4

2. Do Puzzles

Solving puzzles can benefit your brain and neural activity

From crosswords to sudoku, puzzles

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are the ultimate brain workout. Look for them in newspapers or bookstores. On the web, you can find printable versions for free or cheap. A quick Google search for “brain games” or “brain exercises” will yield pages of online puzzles. If you are technologically savvy, then download brain game apps on your phone and enjoy.

3. Learn A New Language

Learning a new language recruits maximum brain activity

It’s never too late to learn a new language. Sure, it will be tricky, but that’s the point. The activity will push your brain in the best way. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends taking classes at a local college or community center. This type of formal, classroom-based learning will do wonders for brain health.5

4. Learn A New Skill

Learning a new skill is hard and stimulates the brain to the fullest

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Adopting a new skill will also put your brain to work. All you need is curiosity and an open mind! Fun ideas include calligraphy, pottery, and cake decorating. Libraries and community centers often host creative adult classes. To learn something new from the comfort of your own home, watch online tutorials.

5. Read Something

Reading is the best form of mental exercise

Yes, it’s that simple. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests picking up high-level reading material to involve your mind. Visit the library or used bookstore. Even reading educational websites like CureJoy will get those wheels turning!6

6. Write In A Journal

Writing engages the brain in a very complex way

Writing in a journal is one of the cheapest forms of therapy. By reducing anxiety, you’ll protect the brain from the harmful effects of

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stress. Fire up your brain by using prompts. For example, write down what you’re grateful for each day. This habit will lower inflammation and ward off chronic disease according to a 2016 study in Psychosomatic Medicine.7 8

7. Cook Regularly

Cooking and trying out new recipes stimulates the brain

Cooking is more engaging than you think. Every time you connect one step to the next, the brain “works out.” You’re also forced to focus on details like slicing, caramelizing, and sauteing. For a real challenge, try a new recipe. Choose a

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meal with techniques or ingredients that you’ve never used. Your brain – and stomach – will be happy.

Don’t forget to maintain a social life, too. Make time for friends – no matter how busy you are. By staying socially active, you can reduce the risk of depression, disability, and dementia.9

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