Want to keep your brain young? It's easy... and fun!
April 15, 2016
Whether it's eating more purple fruit & veg or getting out for a walk, there are really easy and enjoyable ways to help reduce your chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer's.
It amazes me that there are people out there who don't walk for 2 hrs a week. Now I have a new health benefit to encourage you out and about... your grey matter. This BBC documentary compared table tennis and walking for their brain benefits. Both have their benefits and walking seems to (from this small sample group) slightly beat table tennis.
Research elsewhere shows that learning a new skill has a HUGE benefit to brain health. We retain the ability to change the neural connections within our brain (neural plasticity) even into old age. So if you learn a new, challenging skill, such as learning a language, you will be making fresh neural connections.
In addition, from the research I've seen, I firmly believe that learning a skill that combines learning with physical action, could be even more beneficial. Dancing or playing an instrument are prime examples.
So if you add the benefits of social interaction, I feel pretty pleased that the advice I've been giving to my patients who want to know how to stay young is the same advice this documentary ends with.... go all Strictly and get learn yourself some funky new moves.
I continue to learn lindy hop and it is, in addition to all the other benefits I've mentioned, fabulously good fun (as well as being frustrating)!
Don't sit and wait for old age.
Just go and have fun.
(The documentary also finds electrical brain stiumulation and injection of a young person's blood plasma help to improve brain health but I wouln't advise trying these at home).