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5 Ways to Exercise Your Brain

Your brain needs exercise much like your body. In fact, it all works together so that you can have a long, healthy life.

Not everyone physically ages the same way, and this is also true for your brain. Change is inevitable: brain mass, white matter, neurotransmitter systems, and memory changes. But there are steps you can take to improve your brain health and function.

The Basics

Like most other areas of your health, you should begin with good habits.

  • Drink your water daily. Most of your body is made up of water so this is crucial.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Engage in regular physical activity
  • Manage your stress levels.
  • Create and maintain a healthy sleep routine.

Focus on the Brain

While it isn't a muscle like your heart or biceps, the brain can still be exercised to help you stay sharp as you age. Here are a few ways to keep your brain functioning at a high level.

  • Stay social. While it may not seem that big of a deal, strong social networks are associated with lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and stress levels.
  • Recall testing. Make a list. It can be a list of anything: groceries, weekend to-dos, friends from school. Leave the list for an hour or so, then see how many you can recall. Practice regularly.
  • Play with numbers. Do some math problems in your head — not even paper and pencil. For an added challenge, do this while walking.
  • Learn something new. Start playing an instrument, take a cooking class, learn a new language, learn to dance, take an art class, take up a new sport or activity — just try something new that engages and stimulates your mind.
  • Play some brain games. How many times have you seen those Sudoku books or crossword puzzles and thought "no way." Well, maybe reconsider. Games like this engage your mind and keep it stimulated. Don't find this interesting? That's okay. Look online or even in your phone's online store and find other options that you can play anytime.

The bottom line is to stay engaged. Stay active and don't just sit in front of the television for hours on end. Stay physically and mentally active in order to not only have a long life but a quality one as well.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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