Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Preserve Your Memory: 5 Fun Activities to Keep Your Brain Sharp

Synaptic Connections Using Solitaire: 
How to Preserve Brain Function
With Fun and Games

When it comes to memory loss, I've got good news and I've got bad news!

The bad news...there is no one single way to protect your memory.

The good news...there are a great variety of ways to do so...and it may be more fun than you think!

A new study published in AARP reveals that computers, cards, crafts and current issues of magazines are helpful in protecting your memory.  In fact, the things you are doing right now are helping to keep your brain sharp.

Here's more...

Scientist from the  Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center followed a group of study participants for an average of four years. Members of the group were tested to determine whether or not they developed Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a condition that is often (but not always) a precursor to Alzheimer's Disease.

In the end, researchers determined that those who engaged in a variety of activities were 23% less likely to develop memory problems than those who were less engaged in fewer activities. 

These results help to prove that lifestyle factors may strengthen the brain to allow it to withstand disease. Additionally, these findings emphasize the importance of keeping he mind active as we age. 

Here's why...

Scientist concluded that participants who regularly used the computer and took part in social activities had a reduced risk of memory problems.  They determined that the increased number of synaptic connections promoted new neural connections.

Sparing you a lecture on the neuroscience of brain function, you'll just have to trust: 

increasing synapse + new connections = good for your brain.

Take a closer look at the recommended activities and see how much they reduced the risk for developing memory problems...

Five Fun Activities 
to Keep Your Brain Sharp

1.  Using computers:  Reduced Risk 44%

The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging followed about 2,00 men and women, age 70 and older. They determined that participants who used the computer at least once a week were 44% less likely to develop memory and thinking problems than those who rarely logged on. 

So put down that crossword puzzle and reduce your risk of developing memory problems right in front of the computer. What do you do once you get there?

  • surf the web
  • send and read emails
  • check Facebook
  • browse Pinterest
  • shop online
  • pay bills
  • play brain games

2.  Playing Cards: Reduced Risk 14%

Whether alone, in pairs or in groups, playing cards and board games can protect your brain. Who's in for fun and games? Me!  Because my Clue game is too bulky, I'm partial to cards and carry a deck in my purse at all times. Here are a few suggestions for fun card games:

Solitaire, Concentration, Bowling Solitaire, Bakers Dozen and Monte Carlo are a few games to play by yourself.

If you have a friend, play a classic card game like Crazy Eights, Go Fish, Blackjack or Uno.

With a group, games like Bridge, Spades, Rummy, Skipbo and Spoons are lots of fun.

3.  Crafting:  Reduced Risk 16%

If a computer is just not your thing, or cards and games are out of the question, then work on a craft or a hobby. Pick up on old hobby or unfinished project, or find something new to enjoy. Need an idea of what to do? Consider:

  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Completing DIY projects
  • Researching genealogy
  • Interior decorating 
  • Holiday crafting

4.  Reading Magazines: Reduced Risk 30%

Reading is great for brain health! It allows stress reductionmental stimulation and new knowledge. Magaizines don't require any extreme time commitment and, because magazine have numerous stories and articles, they offer a variety of subjects you can talk about. 

5.  Chatting

Experts emphasize the importance of staying socially connected. Not only does conversation keep you cognitively active, spending time talking with friends reduces depression and decreases blood pressure. This is the best news I've heard all day...I love to talk!  

These five activities have proven to be particularly effective in helping keep the brain sharp.  Even if they don't prevent dementia, staying mentally, physically and socially active is beneficial to your health and wellness. Share this information with someone you know and get started today! 

Time flies whether you're having fun or not. The choice is yours.