Research strongly supports the idea that regularly engaging in a variety of challenging mental activities not only helps prevent mental decline, but can also improve cognitive function. Here are some things that you can do to help keep your brain healthy.
Jigsaw puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles actually require you to use several different cognitive skills at the same time, but they are known to help improve visuospatial reasoning.
Dance. Something about combining learning with physical activity engages the brain in ways other activities do not, and dance does just that. It does not matter what type of dance you enjoy; they all show the same cognitive benefits.
Music. Whether listening to music or playing it, music elevates mood and is believed to boost creativity. It can enhance some of the benefits you may get from other activities.
Get wordy. Whether you are learning new vocabulary words or learning a whole new language, increasing your vocabulary can help boost your cognitive function.
Play cards. Card games can improve memory and thinking skills, as well as challenging you to develop strategy. In addition, social card games can provide you with the benefits of companionship.
Martial arts. Whether you are trying the peaceful moves of tai chi or up to more advanced moves in defensive martial arts, they offer some of the same cognitive benefits of both dancing and meditation.
Meditate. While clearing your mind may seem like the type of non-activity that cannot possibly improve brain function, the focused quiet of meditation not only helps reduce stress and improves anxiety, but can also help improve memory.
Use it or lose it. Nowhere does that phrase apply more than when we are talking about mental ability. Whatever activity you choose, regularly engaging in a variety of challenging activities can help you retain and even improve cognitive function.