Use It Or Lose It

This adage applies to many things, but in this post, we are focusing on your brain. In a prior blog, we discussed how the brain is a like a muscle that responds positively to exercise — at any age. As we mature, this becomes even more important. When we were younger, we had to learn and acquire various skills, such as learning to speak, learning to walk, riding a bicycle, and so on. As we matured, the skill sets continued: learning to play a sport or an instrument, typing on a keyboard, driving a vehicle, etc.

But at some age, usually by mid-life, we have acquired most of the skills we need to know. Some sports we have outgrown and abandoned; other skills – such as driving – are so ingrained, we are barely aware of even doing them. Most of us are done with continuing education and classes, so we spend more time passively being entertained, often with tepid television programs.

Dr. Joseph Mercola has studied this topic (sometimes referred to a neuroplasticity), and writes:

“Research into brain plasticity has proven that your brain continues to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity, which means that cognitive function can be improved, regardless of your age, and cognitive decline can be reversed.”

Apparently the key to engaging your brain at a higher level is directly related to the activity required; the level of the concentration the activity requires matters. Sitting in an armchair passively working on a crossword puzzle is obviously not going to generate the energy and enthusiasm one experiences with teammates working through a challenging “escape room” (shameless plug for Quandary: An Escape Room Experience).

As Dr. Mercola notes:

“A key factor or ingredient necessary for improving brain function or reversing functional decline is the seriousness of purpose with which you engage in a task. In other words, the task must be important to you, or somehow meaningful or interesting — it must hold your attention.”

So there you have it. Find something cerebrally challenging and fun to do with friends, and give your brain a tune-up.

Information taken from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/01/brain-exercise.aspx


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