Many of us have heard this mantra over the years. Usually it’s used to refer to our bodies, especially our muscles.?The mantra is indeed true. If we sit around all day and don’t use our muscles, we will actually lose muscle girth, and therefore strength.
We were born to move! Sitting is detrimental to our health.
Using our bodies, i.e. exercising, is therefore important for maintaining strength and function.
“Use it or lose it” also applies to our brains.
As with our body, it is important to exercise our brain every day.
Watching television, even documentaries, doesn’t count as “brain exercise.” That’s akin to watching an aerobics DVD while eating a bag of chips. It may be fun, but it really won’t help us.
One of the easiest ways to use our brains daily is to stop using the memory function on the phone. In my opinion, applications such as memory functions and spell-check have weakened our ability to remember things. It’s OK to program numbers into your phone, but when you use your phone, skip the instant dial. If you have to look at the phone number, write it down and then dial the number.
Another way to challenge your brain is to use your non-dominant hand and arm for tasks such as eating. This simple act will feel uncoordinated in the beginning, but it will become easier as you practice. If you are up to a challenge, practice writing your name with your non-dominant hand once a day, both in print and cursive.
If you are into puzzles, I suggest activities such as Sudoku, Seek-n-Find, and crossword puzzles. If you like games, I highly recommend card games and trivia board games.
There are many brain exercise activities available on the Internet. Check out:
A great way to exercise both your brain and body is by moving in such a way that you have to use your balance. Before performing any of the following exercises, please have a chair nearby to offer you something to hold onto in case you lose your balance. Additionally, move any furniture out of the way to avoid striking it if you fall.
1. Stand on one leg for 10 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
2. Stand on one leg. Bring your other leg up so your knee is bent 90 degrees and your foot is parallel to the floor. Raise the opposite arm (the same side as the leg you are standing on), plugging your fingers into the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds (10 if you can) and repeat with the other leg and arm.
These practices will help your mind stay sharp. Using it can certainly help prevent losing it!
To your health!
Dr. Michael J. Kaye