Do You Need a Personal Trainer for Your Brain? | Five Star
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Do You Need a Personal Trainer for Your Brain?

December 17, 2015

Do You Need a Personal Trainer for Your Brain?
We’ve all seen the infomercials and websites featuring products that claim to increase your brain power by “exercising” your brain. The validity of these statements depends on what you hope to achieve from the brain training. 
 
Computer based brain training seems to be a promising and fun way to maintain or even improve cognitive function in healthy adults.  But does it really help prevent Alzheimer’s?
 
Here is what we know about exercising the brain.
 
How Can Indiana Adults Exercise their Brain?
 
Keep Your Brain Active
Staying cognitively active throughout life is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  This can be achieved a variety of ways:
  • Staying socially engaged
  • Volunteering your time and talent
  • Getting involved with a religious or spiritual organization
  • Engaging in daily conversations
  • Playing games that require to you plan and strategize

Stay Physically Active 
A group of neuroscientists recently published a letter highlighting how intense physical exercise may have greater benefits in reducing dementia and Alzheimer’s than any brain training can produce.
 
Here are a few fun ideas to get started:
  • See if a local senior center offers dance classes such as ballroom, tap or line-dancing
  • Connect with a local group of morning “mall-walkers”
  • Join a local Indiana YMCA that offers water-based exercise classes

Continue to Learn
People with fewer years of education have a higher risk of dementia. But the good news is there are activities that can people with less education perform as well on memory tests as their better educated peers:
  • Reading
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Writing letters
  • Listening to music
  • Visiting museums

Maintain healthy lifestyle habits
Adopting healthy habits keeps your body healthy and is also closely linked to brain fitness. Here are a few to master:
  • Find positive ways to manage stress
  • Make good nutrition a priority
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
The bottom line is that while brain training games are fun and may improve your computer and learning skills, they are not a magic bullet for brain fitness.  Eating well, getting plenty of sleep, making time for social activities, and routine exercise are the best ways to keep your brain healthy.
 
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