Keeping your brain young

Your brain is an organ and just like the heart and lungs, it requires oxygen and exercise in order to operate at an optimum level. You may be too young to give into middle-aged worries like ‘ use it or lose it’ or even to start fretting about Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases – however, it’s still important that you focus on keeping your brain in shape.

By engaging regularly in the right types of activities, you can increase your memory, improve your problem-solving skills and boost your creativity. Here are some tips on how to keep your mind active:

Quit smoking

If you happen to be a smoker, quitting is top of the ‘to-do’ list for better mental acuity. This is because smokers 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. Therefore, if the state and health of your mind are so important to you – stop smoking now — it is never too late. If you quit smoking now, you can still reduce your risk of memory loss later in life

Learn a language

Say ‘Ciao!’ or ‘Bonjour!’ to a new language. Learning to speak Spanish or Mandarin will keep your brain flexible and your mind sharp, helping to reduce the slowing of the thought processes that come with ageing. Attend classes, listen to tapes or seek out friends with whom you can converse in your new chosen language. Instead of watching the same old television programs week after week, take in a foreign language movie with subtitles and immerse yourself in your new experience.

Play games

Thanks to an ageing baby-boom generation, there are now plenty of mentally stimulating games. As their name implies, brainteasers and other such puzzles are good exercises for the brain. At sites like at sites like Free Printable Sudoku you’ll find the best printable sudoku. Always have a crossword book in your briefcase or purse and work on it while you commute, while you wait for an appointment or when you relax on your coffee break. You are bound to improve your cognitive skills and creative thinking as well as your word power and vocabulary. Try also games that force you to strategize – for example, chess, bridge and solitaire.

Learn a new skill

A long-term goal like learning to play a musical instrument stimulates your brain on many levels over an extended period. A skill like learning to dance is great for the brain because it combines music and movement. Make everyday activities harder You can stimulate your brain just by mixing up your daily routine. If you are right handed, switch! Brush your teeth with your left hand! Shower with your eyes closed — anything that will force you to use more of your senses.


Whether it is a website, a novel or a newspaper, keeping your mind engaged in intellectual activity and expanding your vocabulary are two important ways to keep your brain thinking and working. As an added exercise, repeat facts you want to remember a few times aloud – then later, try to recall them again later.


Your brain is the ultimate party animal and loves social activity. Look for clubs or other social activities that will mean you are surrounded by people and interacting. New surroundings, new topics of conversation and other multi-sensory activities force the brain to literally form new connections, thus increasing memory capacity.

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