| How can
you exercise your brain? By doing anything that pushes your
brain to work hard. Play complicated games (bridge, Scrabble,
chess) for a good mental workout. Do a crossword puzzle. Read
a mystery novel and try to unmask the killer before the detective
does. Take a class at your local community college and learn
to speak another language, or play a musical instrument, or
dance. Travel is another great way to have new experiences.
The challenge of organizing a trip and finding your way around
a strange place takes a lot of brain work. The destination doesn't
matter: going to Italy is wonderful, but a local sightseeing
trip can also pay off in terms of new experiences. Even having
a stimulating conversation with a friend can exercise your brain:
discuss politics or child-rearing techniques or the designated
hitter rule, but challenge each other's ideas so you're both
forced to think about what you're saying.
Anything that shakes up the day's routine can provide mental
exercise. Having a steady stream of new experiences will help
keep your brain healthy-and is also a key component of a fulfilling
and enjoyable lifestyle.
"Neural consequences of environmental enrichment,"
H. van Praag and others, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, December
2000, vol 1., pp. 191-198.
"Participation in cognitively stimulating activities
and risk of incident Alzheimer disease", R. Wilson
and others, Journal of the American Medical Association, February
2002, vol. 287, no. 6, pp. 742-748,