For many people, focusing on health strategies like exercise, eating a balanced diet, and self-care rituals gets more important as time goes on. But how often do you actively consider ways to keep your brain as young, dynamic, active, and healthy as possible? Certainly, the aforementioned body strategies also provide mental health benefits, but there are other ways to train the brain for longevity. Below, we share five realistic ways to keep your brain young and sharp, as originally reported by Health:
Play an Instrument
Playing any kind of instrument for 10 or more years has been linked to improved memory in comparison to people who have played an instrument for less than a decade or never at all. Even listening to classical music like Vivaldi has been shown to lead to changes in the brain that aid with attention.
Learn a New Language
A 2013 study published in the journal Neurology found that bilingual individuals developed dementia four and a half years later than people who spoke only one language. Other research shows that speaking more than one language helps with multitasking and attention. Every bit of learning helps, so try listening to a podcast in a foreign language, taking lessons through an app, or meeting up with somebody to exchange language skills.
Change Up Your Standard Font
This one is a simple, easy change that's fun to try. By changing up the font on the work documents you typically read, you make your brain work harder since it's not used to the font. Switching to a weirder font that's less legible than standard Times New Roman or the like can actually improve comprehension and sharpen your brain's ability to recall information.
It's a common conception that multitasking is good for the brain. But according to author Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, it actually "hijacks" the frontal lobe of your brain, which is responsible for decision-making, problem-solving, and other educational aspects of brain health. Doing one thing at a time has been shown to flex the parts of our brain that help us learn, understand, and apply new information.
Find Your Life's Purpose
Research has shown that those who report having a strong purpose in life were more than twice as likely to avoid Alzheimer's than people who did not profess a purpose. It makes sense, if you think about it, because if you have a strong sense of purpose, you're probably self-motivated to do many of the things that help our brain's health long-term: Learn new concepts, apply them, engage socially with other people in your profession, and the like.
Head over to Health to learn more about keeping your brain in its best shape. How do you age-proof your brain? Let us know below.