Taken verbatim from:
Scratch Your Brain's Itch
Brain teasers can and do help keep the mind stay sharp. Like the muscles in your body, your mind strengthens with daily stimulation and can atrophy if neglected and not used. This is why it is important to use the mind and continually challenge it. Being involved in leisure activities that help stimulate your brain can help you live a longer and happier life. Studies have shown that time spent stimulating the brain can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
There are number of different type of brain teasers that can help challenge your wits. There was a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that states:
"Ten sessions of exercises to boost reasoning skills, memory and mental processing speed staved off mental decline in middle-aged and elderly people in the first definitive study to show that honing intellectual skills can bolster the mind in the same way that physical exercise protects and strengthens the body. The researchers also showed that the benefits of the brain exercises extended well beyond the specific skills the volunteers learned."
There is further research that has shown that mental skills are sometimes able to be used to compensate for physical disabilities. An example of this is that if an elderly person knows how to figure out directions and find a new route on a map this can help keep them mobile even if they have trouble seeing at night. There used to be the notion that once a child reached a certain age that the brain was locked in its growth and structure and could not be changed. New researched has destroyed that notion. Scientists have found that the brain is dynamic. It continues to change and grow according to the needs and demands put on it.
Keeping Your Brain In Shape
Brain training has been publicised quite a lot over the past few years and that is because experts have realised just how important our brain health is to our overall well being and quality of life. If you want to live a happy and healthy life, you need to have a well functioning, healthy brain. Just like the muscles in your body, your brain is a 'use it or lose it' organ. You know when muscles aren't used very much they begin to get weak and atrophy, the exact same thing can happen to your brain! If you let it languish for too long it will start losing its potency. You gotta keep those brain cells strong and alert! There are tons of exercises and programs (not to mention brain teasers and puzzles) that can help you keep your brain fit and cognitively firing on all cylinders! Being buff isn't just for those dumb muscle cells anymore!
Lots of brain training exercises are developed with the memory in mind but there are also many other types of training that can be done to help other parts of the brain. Think of weight training, body builders don't spend all their time just training one part of there bodies, to be a brain heavyweight you need the same strategy of working to improve all functions. Perhaps your listening skills aren't as good as they could be, or perhaps you find it hard dealing with numbers? Whatever your weakness there is a way to strengthen that cognitive function.
No Pain, No Gain.
The main thing to remember about training your brain is that you need the activities to be challenging. In the gym, using too little weight really doesn't do much to build muscle. The same is true of brain training. Training with activities that are too easy won't really give you any benefit. You need to challenge your brain in order to help to improve it. So if you want to improve your memory, you need challenge it by memorizing a growing number of items. Want to be quicker with your arithmetic? Sweat through more and harder math problems. The more you use a certain brain function, the more brain cells will be connected to that part of the brain and existing connections are reinforced.
Mix It Up
You'll want to mix up your brain training activities as well. Both to keep things fresh and interesting for yourself and to use your brain functions in different ways and combinations. If you are doing math problems, maybe try doing them backwards or doing them with objects instead of written numbers, like on flash cards. If you like reading, try reading a different genre than you usually read. The key here is to keep your brain on it's toes and guessing.
Overall brain training is designed to help you to improve the health of your brain. You go to the gym and keep fit to keep your body healthy, but what about your brain? Check the links below for some of the best ways for you to train your brain. Learn which brain training strategy best suits you!