Brain Fitness - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/8/02

Brain Fitness

It is interesting to watch as the baby boomers age, the emphasis is changing from a cult of youth to a focus on aging. With the recent research and understanding of brain function, is becoming clear that the brain is like other parts of the body must be properly used for it to stay in shape.

Mental decline as we age is not inevitable. If (and this is the key) if the brain continues to be challenged as we grow older, loss of memory and sluggish thinking are not inevitable. Mental fitness is possible.

Brain fitness is a term coined by a French researcher, Monique LePoncin. Her work showed that over time you can strengthen those areas susceptible to decline.

The fitness regime for the brain is not unlike that for the body. Instead of abs of steel, we are developing ageless intellects.

Brain fitness is a series of specific exercises that are focused on those brain functions that have appeared to fade with age. It is recommended that these exercises be done every day.

Exercise all five of your senses.

  • Sight: Every day, look at a picture, some one or something, and draw it immediately. At the end of a week, redraw the objects or persons from memory. This stretches the short term memory.
  • Smell/Taste: Try to identify the ingredients or seasonings that are in a certain food.
  • Memory: Memorize lists with which you come in contact every day. Memorize the menu at the restaurant and then try it with the prices as well.
  • Hearing: Listen and identify the voice of the caller on the telephone before they say their name. Memorize their phone number. At the end of a week, write down all the numbers you can remember.
  • Smell/Touch: Close your eyes and try identifying objects by touch or by smell.

Other exercises include improving your visual/spatial ability by guessing heights and distances. When you enter a room, estimate the number of objects on the left and then on the right. Draw a picture or diagram of some place you have been during the week.

Take a sentence out of a newspaper or magazine. Try to make a different sentence using the same words. Buy a jigsaw puzzle and try to put it together as quickly as possible. These activities help sharpen your logical abilities. Others logic sharpeners include games of strategy such as bridge, chess or checkers. Avoid playing the same game all the time. You need variety to hone those skills.

Turn the evening news into a learning tool by writing down the most important stories. You can check to see how well you did by going to the kcbd web site. When you finish reading a chapter in a book, try to summarize it in as few words as possible. Do the same when you finish the entire book.

Monique leponcin stresses that ‘monotony generates mental and emotional lethargy. Change is good and stimulating. Meeting new people, going new places, having new experiences helps keep us young.

Becoming involved in your church or as a volunteer is another important antidote for old age.

Brain fitness is easy and only requires a few activities to keep in shape. And, unlike physical exercise, most of them are fun.

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