Technically, your brain isn’t a muscle, but it doesn’t hurt to think of it as one. Just as we lift weights to make our biceps stronger, we should give our brain a mental sweat to strengthen and protect it as we age.
According to Gregory Cooper, MD, PhD, a neurologist at Baptist Health Lexington, learning skills builds new synapses, or connections between brain cells, while strengthening existing ones. “This helps protect ourselves against mental and cognitive decline in the future.”
To do: Switch it up, Dr. Cooper said. If you typically tackle a daily crossword puzzle, swap it with a numbers game. Take a class or pickup a book in a genre you’ve never explored. “By changing activities, we’re stimulating and developing different parts of our brain,” he said.