Mental Fitness

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I like to help “the little grey cells” as much as possible. After all, that is part of being physically fit, right? 🙂 Here is an article from Lumosity  that gives you four ideas to stimulate your brain. I especially like the last idea of going on an adventure! I have italicized the sentences that explain what area of the brain is helped with that particular activity.

New things to try 
  •  Learn a new language

Learning a new language may do much more than make your travels easier. Bilingualism requires the flexibility to switch between languages, and a 2010 study published in Language and Cognition found that bilinguals were also faster at switching between other types of tasks. This study adds to other research suggesting that bilinguals have better executive control, a combination of cognitive processes that help you make decisions, control impulses, and plan thoughtfully.

  •  Pick up an instrument

You don’t need to become a rock star, but spending even a small amount of time practicing music may help keep you sharp. In a study by researchers at the University of St. Andrews, amateur musicians performed better than non-musicians on simple mental tests. The amateurs tended to respond faster while staying just as accurate. Pick up a guitar, flute, or harmonica this year.

  •  Do a good deed for someone else

The more altruistic you are, the healthier you may be. In a 2013 study, teens who volunteered with children for 10 weeks had lower cholesterol and inflammation levels than their peers who didn’t volunteer. It didn’t seem to matter whether the volunteer work was sedentary or active, but the teens who reported greater changes in altruistic behavior after the study ended also experienced the biggest health benefits. So do something for others this year — oddly enough, you might also be helping yourself.

  •  Go on an adventure

Going on an adventure may physically change your brain. In a recent study, mice who boldly went forth and explored their environment grew more new neurons than their less adventurous companions — even though all the mice were genetically identical.

While this study only examined mice, it shows a direct link between individual behavior and neuroplasticity, and may begin to explain how we develop individual personalities. Whether you travel to a country on your bucket list or find a spot in your city that you’ve never explored, take an adventure of your own.

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