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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

Train Your Brain -- Get Smarter Now!

Here are some simple ways to stay sharp -- or get even sharper -- as you get older.

We all know the value of physical exercise, but your brain regularly needs a good workout as well. It’s particularly vital when approaching middle age, when the brain starts to lose cells and its connections start to fail. But if you consistently train your brain, you can reduce the risk of developing dementia when you’re older. Try different activities that make you think or learn new skills, like these:

1. Turn your world topsy-turvy.

Read a book or magazine upside down for three minutes. New connections form between brain cells when your brain’s stimulated.

2. Brush and floss already.

New research from Columbia University Medical Center examined more than 2,300 men and women and found that those with the highest levels of a bacteria associated with gum disease also had the most trouble on memory and cognitive tests. Help prevent gum disease by taking better care of your teeth and getting regular checkups.

3. Play computer games.

Brain-training games have been shown to improve general brain function, including memory. Try FreeBrainAgeGames.com.

4. Learn to dance .

Exercise carries oxygen to the brain, and complex dances strengthen brain cell connections.

5. Surf the Web.

Each time you read about or hear of topics and people of interest, look them up on the Internet. Even if it’s the love life of a celebrity, at least you’re learning something!

6. Don’t stop learning.

Take a class or learn a new hobby. Whether it’s pottery or painting, learning completely new things reactivates rusty cells.

About the Writer

Fleur Michell has written numerous health articles for such national publications as  Cosmopolitan and is a frequent contributor to Completely You.  

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