It has been widely reported that adults can benefit from keeping their cognitive functionality as healthy as possible. Whenever we learn something new, engage in new activities or even ponder a new concept, our brain rewires itself in response to these activities, hence why it is so important to keep learning as we get older. While cognitive development is normally associated with young children and babies, humans of all ages can benefit from looking to improve their cognitive function. Not only does learning new skills and information give us a sense of pride, but reports have shown that having a reduced cognitive function may age us prematurely (and can in turn) reduce life expectancy. By making certain lifestyle choices, including those that tax or challenge the brain, you can, in fact, improve your cognitive function.
Games that involve strategy are highly beneficial for the brain, especially those that involve puzzle solving or require new learning. Board games such as Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly and games like chess and checkers are ideal to help keep your cognitive reasoning and functionality on point as almost every game that you can play is unique, requiring a distinct set of strategies each time.
Did you know that playing games like poker can provide some positive benefits for your brain? According to Dr. Stephen Simpson, playing poker can help to rewire your brain and help to create myelin in the long run. Myelin is a fatty white substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells, forming an electrically insulating layer. Therefore, the more poker that you play, the more myelin our brains create. It’s all about the science!
You don’t necessarily have to visit a casino to take advantage of playing poker. You could always host a game from the comfort of your own home. Learning a new skill like poker in the privacy of your own home may be a lot less daunting than playing in a casino for the first time. Plus, playing with friends can also contribute toward stronger cognitive health as strong social ties — through friends, family and community groups — can preserve our brain health as we age.
Undertaking the likes of “brain training” can also prove to be beneficial. A survey conducted at Umea University trained older adults with a working memory task in 15 sessions over five weeks. After the training intervention, the participants showed a significant improvement in their working memory functions. The observed improvement was still present 18 months later, a finding that provides evidence toward long-term maintenance of training improvements.
Looking for something more physical? Although exercise is a known way to improve your fitness, many studies show that exercise increases one’s ability to learn, handle stressful situations, make clear decisions and recall facts and memories. It has also been reported that physical exercise can help reduce tissue density in the brain, too.
In conjunction with improving your fitness levels, you may want to consider reviewing your diet and eating habits as well. Eating food that is rich in omega-3, antioxidants and vitamin E can all help contribute toward improving your cognitive health.
There are many positive ways to build better cognition, lessen the chances of developing a diminished cognitive ability and reduce the likelihood of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s in the future. Additionally, such activities will also positively increase memory retention, reduce memory loss and will help contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle, too. In other words, a healthy brain equals a healthy life, and who doesn’t want that?