Just as your body needs physical stimulation to stay fit, your mind requires engagement to maintain edge. Activate your neural center with fun activities that flex your brain.
Tax your cerebral connections. Try Bingo. An English researcher found that senior citizens who played the game experienced fewer memory problems and better hand–eye coordination than those who didn’t. Do brain teasers like crossword puzzles, word searches, and Rubik’s cubes, or play Scrabble and chess. Recite the alphabet backward, or count down by 4s starting at 100.
Surprise your synapses. Brain injury victims must relearn many daily tasks. Simulate the same recoding by changing your normal operations. Take up a foreign language. Learn to play an instrument like drums or piano, which require performing different actions with your hands and feet. Or just practice patting your head while rubbing your stomach. Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, eat, dial a phone, or maneuver a computer mouse. The switch can force your brain to invent new pathways for manipulating and controlling physical movement.
Stimulate sensory perceptions. Try closing your eyes while brushing your teeth or getting dressed. Activate multiple senses simultaneously, for example rolling balls of clay while listening to an audio book, or tapping your fingers while listening to raindrops falling.