Fitness is most often associated with physical appearance and a healthy body. However, mental health is equally important. Keeping your brain young will help stave off dementia and Alzheimer's as the body ages. There are many different cognitive activities that will help the brain "work out" and keep the brain fit.
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Take a new class or learn a new language. Learning new subjects will help stretch your brain. When your brain is challenged with new information, it must develop new pathways to accommodate the learning taking place. Contact a local community college for a schedule of continuing education courses offered.
Puzzles, whether jigsaw or crossword, challenge your mind. When working on crossword puzzles, you must think of several different possible options for the riddle, which exercises your brain and helps keep your thought processes from degrading. If you choose jigsaw puzzles, you are not only working on keeping your spatial skills fresh, but you are also working on your hand-eye coordination.
While watching Jeopardy helps you think of trivia answers, participating in trivia games with friends or at local taverns where trivia games are played helps you think on your feet. By actively participating in trivia games, you have a longer waiting time to arrive at the answer than if you are watching trivia on the television; therefore, you expend more mental energy. The more time it takes to think through an answer, the more mental exercise your brain will get.
While eating healthy and getting exercise does not fall under the category of cognitive exercise, it is nonetheless extremely important for keeping your brain young. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables and getting regular exercise promotes healthy blood vessels, which allow more oxygen-rich blood to the brain than if the heart and blood vessels are hardened by unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will promote cognitive development and help ward off cognitive disease.
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