Train Your Brain: The Importance of Brain Fitness

The term “Brain Fitness” refers to the idea that one can utilize cognitive training abilities to maintain or improve their neurological state. Exercising the brain to improve memory or daily functionality has been an interesting development in the science of aging. Researchers are finding that brain fitness can be an essential practice to increase seniors’ overall well-being and to combat the neurological deterioration process. The brain is a muscle, and like any other in the body, it must be exercised in order to maintain healthy cognitive function and memory, and to improve vascular health.

Nerve Cells

 

Taking the steps to improve brain function is easy, low-impact and can be enjoyable. Below are some simple ways to introduce a brain fitness regimen into your everyday life:

  1. Start with Nutrition: Eating a well-balanced diet filled with leafy greens, lean protein and natural foods is a great way to ensure you are helping your body improve functionality from the inside out.
  2. Play Games: “Simple games like Sudoku and word games are good, as well as comic strips where you find things that are different from one picture to the next,” says John E. Morley, MD, director of St. Louis University’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and author of The Science of Staying Young. Click  here for more information.
  3. Learn Something New: Often times challenging the brain to learn a new skill or to memorize a poem or song is very beneficial for helping it to remain a “sponge” for new information. Testing your recall of this information acts as another jump start to stimulate neural connections.

Visit the Seniors Love to Know website for a comprehensive list of daily activities for Senior Brain Fitness.

 

For more information about this trending topic, we looked for articles from the experts. In one article the results from a study of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment proved quite interesting.

“Researchers put 127 elderly people on what they called a brain fitness regimen for 12 weeks that included meditation training, cognitive behavior therapy, and education about the Mediterranean diet, exercise, stress reduction and proper sleep habits.
By the end of the program, 84% of participants experienced significant improvements in cognitive function; researchers reported in a paper released online February 5 in the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Among the random sample of 17 patients who received magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at the beginning and end of the program, 12 had either no atrophy during the study or some growth in brain volume in their hippocampus, the region responsible for memory.
’You can choose a lifestyle that promotes rapid brain atrophy and dementia or one that accelerates brain growth and vitality,’ said lead study author Dr. Majid Fotuhi, a researcher at NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center in McLean, Virginia, and at Johns Hopkins Medicine.” [i]

This research sheds light on how important brain fitness is to maintaining stable health, mobility and living independently for many elderly people in the world. It is important to recognize the critical link between actively stimulating the brain throughout the aging process and a higher sense of well-being for the senior. By practicing these methods, one can improve cognitive function for much longer than nature alone might have intended.


References:
Melone, Linda. “10 Brain Exercises That Boost Memory.” EverydayHealth.com. EverdayHealth, 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 01 Mar. 2016. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx>.
Reuters. “Brain Fitness Program May Ease Cognitive Impairment in Elderly | Fox News.” Fox News. Reuters, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 01 Mar. 2016. <http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/02/22/brain-fitness-program-may-ease-cognitive-impairment-in-elderly.html>.
Photo Credit:http://yourhealthaccess.com/neurology-and-neurosurgery/brain-fitness/

 

Related Links:

What is Brain Fitness?

Cognitive Activities for the Elderly

Everyday Brain Fitness

[i] Brain Fitness Program May Ease Cognitive Impairment in Elderly

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