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Senior Moments from H.O.M.E.

Here's How You Can Train Your Brain

Posted by Tricia Mullin on Oct 8, 2018 1:05:32 PM

Here H.O.M.E. goes again, digging up another reason to celebrate one’s mind and put it to good use!  We are all about prevention, whether it be by way of our Home Upkeep and Repair program, our Moving program, our Shopping Bus or our affordable Good Life Senior Residences.  In the spirit of prevention and in honor of “National Train Your Brain Day”, which is observed annually on October 13th, I challenge you and your brain to do something fun, interactive, challenging, and stimulating on this day! (or every day for that matter)

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How much of your brain are you using?

This nationally celebrated day was created to “encourage everyone to expand and exercise their brain and use more of its potential capacity”.   When scientists were asked how much of the brain is used, the answer varied. However, many of them believe that humans only use a small percentage of their brain and that there is room to expand what and how much we learn. This goes beyond what one might traditionally think of when they hear the word ‘learning’ such as reading or cross word puzzles.

Aging and the Brain

Brain studies have to consider possible age effects carefully and question whether the change to the brain is really due to age or something else. A 2017 study on Changes of the Human Brain from Early to Middle Adulthood found that “the brain changes were so highly correlated with age that the researchers could estimate the age of an individual simply by analyzing their brain scan.

This is striking, considering that prior to this, scientists had thought that the brain structure of healthy adults was relatively stable before old-age.”  However, the study did not link such changes to cognitive decline. I think this finding should be a wake-up call to do what you can at any age to exercise and train your brain in hopes of keeping it a ‘well-oiled machine’.

How can you use more of your Brain?

The bigger question we should be asking is not necessarily what to do; instead are you doing any of these suggested measures to take care of your brain?

A common thread among some of the suggested things to do to take care of your brain is to ‘shake things up’ a little (and I do not mean literally). The word challenge comes to mind when looking for ways to keep the brain healthy. Also on that list is doing the opposite of what you might be used to doing or ‘going against the grain’ to keep your brain in tip-top shape.

Are a healthy diet and exercise important for better brain functioning?

Yes, managing one’s diet, proper sleep and reducing stress round out the suggestions in the links below but have you thought about some unconventional ideas that may not get the attention they deserve such as doing things ambidextrously or singing to solve problems, where ‘singing about your worries activates your right hemisphere which is responsible for pattern recognition’. Now, just because ‘watching your diet’ is a commonly listed tactic to address brain health, I don’t want you to dismiss it and opt only for the newer ways of taking care of your brain. Remember, the brain is an organ that requires a lot of energy. In fact, “the brain alone requires 20 to 30% of the calories that you consume”.  The question becomes what types of foods are you supplying your brain with? 

Your brain is a precious commodity. Make an attempt to incorporate all the suggested ideas into your weekly routine. Your brain, and body for that matter, will thank you.

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