Age is relative and doesn’t matter a whole lot unless you lose your brain because you didn’t use it.
—Arlene R. Taylor PhD
There are many ways to care for the brain. The brain-based Longevity Lifestyle Matters program includes several strategies. Physical exercise is one—because the brain depends on blood flow, and physical exercise can enhance blood flow. Richard Restak MD, author of Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot, has touted physical exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function.
Mental exercise is another. Much as with muscles, when it comes to brain function it tends to be use it or lose it. There is a big difference between passive and active exercises. A person can actively move their arm or another individual can move it for them. It seems the same is true of brain exercise. Active stimulation involves your brain being actively involved in some type of challenging mental activity. Some refer to active brain stimulation as Brain Aerobics Exercise. Watching television and movies involves passive stimulation as your brain processes what other brains actively created.
According to recommendations by Dr. Amir Soas of Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland, “Cut back on TV, because when you watch television, your brain goes into neutral.... Read, read, and read. Do crossword puzzles. Pull out the chessboard or Scrabble®. Learn a foreign language or a new hobby....” In fact, reading aloud for ten (10) minutes a day is being touted as an antiaging strategy.
Results from research studies continue to accumulate on the importance of regular challenging stimulation to the brain. For example, Posit Science just released data from the 10-year ACTIVE (Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly) study. The randomized, controlled trial compared the results of cognitive training exercises in speed, memory, and reasoning between study participants and a control group to determine if brain training might help with healthier aging. The speed training was found to cut long-term dementia risk by 33 percent among those asked to complete 10 hours of training in the first year of the study. (Memory and reasoning training were found not to have any significant effect on dementia risk.) Earlier research had shown that participants in speed training also improved at measures of brain processing speed, in tasks related to independent living, and did better than the control group at measures of mood, confidence, health, and driving. (The speed exercise is exclusively licensed to Posit Science and available as “Double Decision” in BrainHQ.)
The mental exercises on this website are provided free of charge. You may want to include some of them in your brain exercise routine. Try to increase your speed as you do them. You’ll be glad you did and so will everyone who knows you.
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