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Try These Tips to Keep Your Brain Active

By Paul Rothbart

Staying active keeps your body healthy. So, too, does using your brain keep it healthy. Since you can't lift a dumbbell with your mind (if you can, you've got a great act for Vegas), you have to find other ways to exercise your brain. Activities that require problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity are perfect. Here are some ways to keep your mind sharp.

The Mind-Body Link

Anything that improves your physical health is also good for your brain. A nutritious diet will feed the brain and body. Foods low in fat and cholesterol are essential. Eating fish, especially salmon, will provide omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients reduce inflammation and are excellent for brain health. Foods rich in antioxidants are also excellent choices for staying in shape mentally. Regular exercise improves blood flow which is needed by the brain.

Cooking Class

Taking a cooking class is a great way to learn the techniques that will help you create delicious, healthy meals. More than that, cooking involves multiple senses. Taste, smell, and sound are all important parts of cooking well. Each of these senses uses a different part of the brain. It's a great way to exercise your mind and improve memory and cognitive function.

Work on Memory

The best way to improve your memory is to use it. Try memorizing shopping or to-do lists. You can start with shorter lists and work up to longer ones. If you're ambitious, you can try remembering strings of numbers. Before cell phones and speed dial, people remembered commonly used phone numbers. This is a good way to exercise your memory. You can also play memory games alone or with others. 

Learn a New Language

Being able to speak another language is fun and can come in handy. It's also a great way to exercise your mind. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking use different parts of the brain. Memorization comes into play as well as learning and applying rules of grammar. A study conducted in Spain found that adding foreign words to one's vocabulary can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. 

Ditch the Calculator

Doing math in your head is an excellent mental workout. You don't have to solve partial differential equations. Simple addition and subtraction will suffice. For the more math savvy, multiple and divide as well. You can up the ante by doing mental math while walking. It's more challenging and you'll get a physical workout at the same time.

Your body is only one part of you. Keeping your brain healthy and active is every bit as important as physicality. Try some of these tips to keep your mind sharp.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Athens, Ga.

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