Is it true if you don’t use it, you lose it?

22 Sep

6a00d83451e0d569e201127945beef28a4All 40 Year Old Virgin jokes aside, research shows that you need to keep your brain active and stimulated in order for it to function at its optimal performance.  In the October 2009 issue of Consumer Reports magazine there is an article on how various things can keep your brain active, which can lead to a longer lifespan and reduce your risk of dementia.  While it may be fun to be a crazy old person (I mean, what have you got to lose?), I would prefer to live a long life.  Personal preference?  I don’t think so.  Follow these rules throughout life and you may be living longer:

  • Develop a new skill or refresh an old one. Learn a new language, plan an instrument or get a hobby studying art – and get out of the house to do it.  Intellectual stimulation can be very fun and it is a good way to keep your brain healthy.
  • Eat less meat, more fish. Several magazines have published reports on how healthy fish is for your brain (yay, Omega 3’s!), and this adds yet another.  A couple years ago the world’s two oldest women, both 114, each were asked what they think was the biggest contributing factor in their longevity.  One said “eating a lot of herring.”  The other said “minding my own business.”  There you go.
  • Stay Productive. This combines the first one with getting out of the house in a sense.  Make to-do lists, even if they are not “musts,” and start checking them off the list. Stay productive!
  • Stay physically active. This will help your mind by increasing  oxygen and blood flow to your brain.  It will also keep you in better shape, which could help you live longer as well.
  • Feed your head. Studies suggest that social engagement and lifelong learning may continue to improve cognition well into your life, and loneliness could trigger dementia. To preserve a healthy brain: go for a walk with a friend or a pet 5 days a week, travel with family or friends, join a gym, sign up for a reading club, or start a new hobby. Just some ideas.



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