The Science Behind Brain Maintenance
At the beginning of every New Year, it is common for us to make New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, eat right, and exercise more and to remove stress from our lives. Few if any of us think about setting goals for the health of our brains.
Increased brain performance is achieved by introducing new stimulus, learning new skills and performing mental exercises that generate new neurons and strengthen their connections. To ensure that new neurons and neural connections survive, it is important to challenge your brain with new and exciting stimuli: visual, audio and physical activity. Three principles that are key for stimulating the brain are: imaginativeness, diversity and constant challenge. Our brains develop expanding neural networks when exposed to new experiences and challenges resulting in a “cognitive reserve”.
Our brains are composed of different areas and functions, so a variety of activities are necessary to exercise different areas of the brain. Mental exercise improves cognitive skills such as concentration, processing speed, mental clarity and memory. The brain has neuroplasticity and continues to develop throughout your life so it is a direct reflection of what you do with it and how you care for it.
- Lifelong cognitive exercise may ward off Alzheimer’s protein beta amyloid (sharpbrains.com)
- Physical Fitness Associated With Healthier Brain Aging (blogs.wsj.com)