All of us know that most of the cognitive development takes place in an individual till the age of 5. But that doesn’t mean we cease to learn or acquire new skill set as we grow older. This proves that our cognitive development ability, though reduced, does not diminish altogether as we grow older.
Our brain’s cognitive reserve — its ability to withstand neurological damage due to aging and other factors without showing visible signs of slowing or memory loss — diminishes through the years. That can make it more difficult to perform mental tasks.
And in recent years, we have seen a considerable amount of increase in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But researchers now believe that following a brain-healthy lifestyle and performing regular, targeted brain exercises can also increase your brain’s cognitive reserve.
Today, we have discussed few day-to-day activities, that will aid you boost your brain-power, and keep your brain active and healthy as you grow old, thus reducing the chance of your developing neurological disabilities drastically.
Take Up a New Hobby
You must have mastered your old hobbies by now and so it doesn’t add to your learning any further. So, it’s time to take up something which is absolutely new. This will give you a platform to learn something from scratch, thus brushing up your brain cells.
Read books, talk to experts, take classes, or join organizations related to your hobby. All of this learning activity develops new connections between neurons, which helps offset cell loss due to aging or disease.
Test your Recall
Make a list of anything, groceries you need, places you wish to travel or just names of your friends and relatives. Memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation.
This is a great way to boost your brain cells while keeping you entertained. In puzzles, don’t just stick to crosswords. Try out different types which include your analytical, reasoning and problem solving skills. Sudoku, acrostics, cryptograms, syllacrostics are few of the puzzles you can try solving.
Your brain will be challenged every time with each particular type of puzzle. Switching from a puzzle that’s easy to a more difficult or unfamiliar type stimulates new brain activity, or learning, as your brain now has to generate new memories in order to master the new challenge.
Play Board and Card Games
An excellent way to enhance your cognitive ability is playing a wide variety of word games. Try your hands on Scrabble , Monopoly, Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, and other games that include strategic planning .
Chess and Chinese checkers are also excellent options as they require changing your strategy of play on every game. Card games can similarly help preserve cognitive functioning because the player continues to perfect the most effective strategies according to the opponent’s playing style
Do Mathematics Mentally
Don’t rely on the calculator of your smartphone or laptop every time you need to calculate something. Don’t even fetch a pen and paper. Instead, try solving various mathematical equations in your mind. You can start with easy ones and progress towards the more complex ones gradually.
Test your Taste Buds
When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
Try to Reduce Stress
People with high amounts of stress are more likely to suffer from cognitive problems than those who are free of stress. While medications can reduce the symptoms of stress, they do not cure the problem or help you understand the root cause of the stress, which is key.
Since many meds require ever-increasing dosages to be effective, and many have side-effects, it is important to consider reducing stress in more natural ways, including exercise, naps, individual counselling, meditation, relaxing hobbies, spiritual growth and other means.
Soon people will realize that they can take steps to keep their brains healthy.