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8 Ways to Keep Your Brain Fit

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8 Ways to Keep Your Brain Fit

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

Cognitive reserve, the term used to describe the mechanism by which a person’s mind can compensate for damage to their brain, has become a buzzword in the medical community, thanks to its connection to one of the most infamous issues of modern aging: dementia.

Research indicates that people who have solid stores of cognitive reserve are generally less likely to exhibit the classic signs of dementia—short-term memory loss, difficulty multitasking, etc.—even if their brain scans indicate mental damage. This is because cognitive reserve effectively makes the mind stronger and more nimble, enabling it to come up with ways to compensate for disease-related loss of functioning.

Seek out and embrace new challenges; your brain will thank you

Shlomo Breznitz, Ph.D., founder of Cognifit and author of Maximum Brainpower: Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom, feels that finding ways to consistently engage the brain with new and stimulating experiences is the key to cultivating more cognitive reserve and staving off mental decline.

No matter what age they are, Breznitz stresses that starting a cognitive fitness regimen may help a person ward off the symptoms of dementia. “Our cognitive skills are not fixed. At all ages the brain has the ability to respond to new information and new stimuli,” he says.

More confusion now may mean less confusion later

According to Breznitz, the twin traits of novelty and variety are invaluable when coming up with activities to enhance cognitive reserve. Sudoku and crosswords alone won’t work, he says. You’ve got to get creative when coming up with ways to stimulate the brain.

In the same way elite athletes and their trainers use the concept of muscle confusion (varying the types and duration of exercises to expose weaknesses and challenge muscles in new ways) to maximize their physical fitness, switching up the things you do to engage your mental muscle can help maximize your mental fitness.

“Challenging the brain helps maintain cognitive vigor and capacity. And maintaining our cognitive health maintains our quality of life,” Breznitz says.

 

Related:
Take Dementia Out With the Trash: Daily Chores May Prevent Cognitive Decline
Laughter May Be As Effective as Meds in Dementia Treatment
Cognitive Reserve: The First Line of Defense Against Dementia

The Curiosity Challenge: 8 Ways to Construct Cognitive Reserve originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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384 comments

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1:30AM PST on Jan 23, 2014

Thank you :)

9:48AM PDT on Jun 19, 2013

Very interesting and helpful. T Y :)

12:01AM PDT on Jun 18, 2013

I joined Lumosity. You can check it out on the internet.

It's a scientific way of exercising the brain. You play interesting games and the brain is strengthened. It deals with speed, memory, attentiveness, flexibility and problem solving.

You can sign in for free and practice some of the games. Find out if it's for you.

It sure is for me! I signed up, paid $80 something for a full year and I'm watching my brain get in shape! No "Old Timers for Me!"

6:39PM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

thanks

9:30PM PDT on Jun 16, 2013

Proven way for anyone to live longer ----cost effective way to live longer
http://normlawlor.blogspot.ca This will be my paragliding blog bookmark and stay tune
xnlife is to extend life Do what you love to do Have a passion flying is mine check out {xnlife}

12:44PM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

must try some of these. I am using my left hand for mouse and typing and very difficult.

7:39PM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

Ty

7:32PM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

Noted...

12:50AM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

thanks for sharing

12:00PM PDT on Jun 12, 2013

thanks for sharing. im really enjoying with new knowledge

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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