A healthy brain is as important as a healthy heart and it plays a part in all of the body’s functions. From birth your brain starts to learn about what’s around you, how to understand it, to think and to interact with the world. Keeping it healthy and active will help your brain to serve you well throughout life.
The good news is that, for the most part, by adopting the same healthy lifestyle choices that will keep your heart healthy, you’ll be doing the best for your brain as well. This includes regular physical exercise of 20 minutes or more each day, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, reducing alcohol, reducing stress and getting good sleep.
Giving your brain some specific exercise is also important. You can think of it a bit like brain gymnastics, giving it a regular workout and stretching it will keep it agile and flexible. The best ways to do this include reading or doing puzzles of one sort or another. Learning a new language or a new skill is particularly good. Anything that involves using your hands like painting, learning a musical instrument or some form of craft work is super good for you. Not only are you using your vision or hearing to read or listen to instructions, you’ll also be practicing fine motor control as you develop the dexterity in your hands with your new skill. Each time you practice your new skill your brain works hard to find easier ways to help you do it and the skill becomes easier over time.
Other ways to keep your brain active involve social contact, something that has been particularly difficult during 2020. As we emerge from our confinement, renewing our face to face social contact will benefit us all enormously. For new ways to expand social contact consider joining a club that interests you or volunteering. It doesn’t have to be something you already know about or have experience in, so long as it interests you, gives you pleasure and you can share it with other people, your brain will be very happy.
Many of you may well have taken up something new during 2020. Do share your ideas with us to help inspire others.
You're never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream