Dr. Anne Fabiny, chief of geriatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School was recently asked if there are certain kinds of “brain work” that are more effective than others. Her brain-health strategies include:

* Strain Your Brain – Look at mental activities as a continuum. Learning a new language would be on the challenging end, while watching a TV documentary would be on the mildly challenging end of the spectrum. Dr. Fabiny says, “be open to new experiences that cause you to see the world and do things differently.”

* Get Uncomfortable – Get out of your comfort zone…. it challenges your mental skills.  Traveling to a city you’ve never been to before can force you to steer yourself in unfamiliar surroundings.

* Be Social – Researchers believe social isolation can put people at risk of losing some brain reserves they have built up over a lifetime.  Volunteering is one way of putting yourself in a new situation with a variety of people.

* Keep Learning – By continuing to learn new things scientists believe we are able to build and maintain our “cognitive reserves” which have been built up over the years.

 

Your body is important too!  Physical activity helps your mind and your heart.  Exercise that involves mental skill and balance like golfing or a racquet sport is even better, though choosing one that you are comfortable with and can stay with is best!     Harvard Health Publications   11/8/12

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