Exercise your mind

January 10, 2024 • Brain health

Older Man Playing Electric GuitarsmOur brain has about 100 billion neurons, which are tiny brain cells. These neurons make more than 100 trillion connections using chemicals called neurotransmitters. These connections are what let us think, learn, remember, and do things. As we get older, unfortunately, these connections can get weaker because of less blood flow and fewer nutrients and neurotransmitters reach the brain. This can make our memory less than ideal as we need these components to function. But just because we get older doesn’t mean we cannot help our brain stay sharp! Just like we exercise our muscles, we need to keep our brain active with the use of mental exercises, being social, and engaging in physical activity. In fact, research has shown that these three things can help us think better and lower our risk of dementia.

Mental exercises, like reading, making art, listening to music, doing puzzles, or learning new things, can make our brain stronger. This process, called neuroplasticity, helps to build a ‘brain reserve’ which can delay problems with thinking and memory.

  • Try learning a new skill this month.

Socializing is also good for our brain. When we talk and spend time with others, we use our reasoning and empathy skills. We have to pay attention and then respond, which is work for the brain! Being social can make us happier, which helps our brain work better. It can also encourage us to try new things, which is good for our brain.

  • Aim to spend more time with others than alone.

Physical activity is linked to better brain function and can help delay dementia. When we exercise, we increase blood flow to the brain, bringing more oxygen and nutrients. This can help grow new neurons and connections. Walking in nature, for example, is not only good exercise but also boosts our mood and brain power.

  • Consider taking a walk outside this week.

To read more about brain exercises, check out: