A lot of things come with age – like wealth, wisdom, and ear hair – but a sharper mind isn’t one of them.
In fact, according to Rodale Publishing, studies show that the average person’s cognitive ability begins to slip after age 45! Your memory loosens and your reaction time begins to slip. Why? Because your brain is literally shrinking! But researchers say you CAN stem the tide of mental decline.
Dr. Gary Small is the head of the UCLA Memory and Aging Research Center and he says we can control the age of our brain to a greater extent than most people realize. It’s true that about a third of age-related brain drain is caused by genetics. But the other two-thirds has to do with factors like lifestyle choices and environment. For instance, a 45 year old guy with average mental test scores for his age can do a couple weeks of brain training – including visualization exercises and brain teasers – and after those 2 weeks he’ll score about average for a 30 year old guy.
So what can you do starting today? It’s so easy!
Turn off the boob tube and do crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. They fine tune our neural connections, strengthening the way our brains are wired.
But don’t keep doing the same thing day after day. Dr. Small says the best thing to do is to cross-train your brain. So one day do the crossword, the next day do the jigsaw, the next day try some Sudoku, and the day after that do a Rubik’s Cube – remember those? Each of those puzzles taps into a different way of thinking and you should do that for half an hour every day.
Combine that with good lifestyle factors like a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. A smoke free environment and regular exercise - and you’ll be the smartest person in the room for a long time to come.