We use it constantly. The neurons are continuously firing, communicating, processing and initiating action. The effort we put forth to use our brains as we age is a huge factor impacting how well we function later in life. So what’s your effort level?
Continuing our series on behaviors and habits we can all modify for our mind and memory wellness, let’s talk about maximizing our mind this week.
We all have one which is involved in everything we literally think and do. Our brains. But how much we use it impacts how much we will or won’t lose it in our older years. Hereditary and environmental factors do play a role in our brain’s ability over time. But the one factor we all can control is our effort to use our brains daily.
In childhood, young adulthood and even our middle years, we are challenged daily to use our brains in various ways. But as we age, we may want to rest on our laurels, take it easier and relax. We may think it’s our reward for all those years of maximizing our mind! While this is true and studies show those with increased education levels have a higher cognitive reserve (brain power) to use as they age, we still can’t ease up on our effort in our older years.
A recent study showed healthy adults carrying the gene linked to Alzheimer’s had a tougher time adapting to increasing cognitive demands as they age. This explains why cognitive tasks which seem easy become much more difficult over time for these individuals. But that’s a small percentage of the population. What has happened to the rest who seem to struggle cognitively as they age?
I would hazard a guess they find it more comfortable in their comfort zones. By not stretching their brains and venturing out of their cognitive comfort zones, they are limiting their brain’s ability. Yes, it’s more difficult to push our thinking, learn new things and even fail the first few times we step outside our comfort zones. But that’s the beauty of the brain!
When we use our brain in different ways, push it to learn more, stretch our level of expertise and exert more of an effort, we more fully equip it to function well as we age. We experience life more completely when we boost our brain effort.
Here are a few ways to boost your brain in new ways daily:
- Learn and utilize a new language.
- Learn or relearn a musical instrument.
- Take a trip near or far, exploring, observing and documenting along the way.
- Learn a new hobby you’ve always been interested in but hesitant to try.
- Keep up with technology-it can assist us in many ways as we age.
These are just a few that scratch the surface of possibilities available to us all as we age. What are some ways you stimulate your brain daily? Chime into the conversation on Facebook or with a comment, I’d love to hear how you’re maximizing your mind as you age! If interested, check out our Academy service as one more way to help you boost your brain.
Let’s not let up on our brain boosting effort in our later years. Instead, let’s push ourselves to be the best we can be and maximize our minds!