Dr Norman Doidge, author of the international best seller, The brain that changes itself, states that age related memory loss is REVERSIBLE with the right mental exercises. Use it or lose it.
Physical and mental activity creates and sustains brain cells leading to better brain function. So, the MORE education we have, the MORE social and active we are, the less likely we’ll get Alzheimers or dementia.
So, what exercises are best for our brains? According to Doidge, the activity has to be new, not a rekindling of old neural pathways. In that case, I can’t regress and hone my skipping, trampolining, crochet and hopscotch skills (phew).
Also, our brains have to be ENGAGED for neuroplastic change to occur. So, it’s best to learn new things you’ve always WANTED to do.
I should meditate, finish my psychology degree subjects. My husband suggested I could tell a funny joke for something new, (to think I married him for his sense of humour).
It’s not exactly new, but a simple start for me is to walk BAREFOOT more often. The decrease in sensory input to our brain from walking in shoes leads to LOSS OF BALANCE later in life. Less neural input from the padding of shoes and walking on too many even surfaces will, over time, waste away the brain map of the soles of our feet.
Living in landlocked Canberra, walking barefoot on a beach is a treat. And I’d climb that rock barefoot while I was at it. And jump off. Then probably experience new pathways of pain from my ankle to my brain.
Back to more domestic tasks, I’ll brush my teeth and use a mouse with my non-dominant hand to maintain my brain fitness. Not high on the ENGAGING scale, but….
Or, I could leave my shopping list at home, to force myself remember what was on it. Except I already do that… involuntarily.
I’d like to learn another language. Not by attending classes here, but by travelling to that country, and immersing myself in the culture and people. OUR BRAINS ARE MOST ACTIVE WHEN WE SOCIALISE WITH OTHERS. Sorting out Maslow’s basic needs, (and my own) in a non-English speaking country would keep my neurons on their toes – asking directions for food and drink, toilets, shelter etc. Italy is where my ‘humourous’ half wants to go. Charm me, Luig.
Learning a musical instrument is good for neuroplasticity too. Certain MUSIC talks to my soul. I should play music more often, loudly. Does some music uplift you, put you in a positive mood? I wonder how listening to music affects neuroplasticity.
I’d like to learn to dance like the characters in my novel, but suspect that would take Malcolm Gladwell’s 10000 hours of practice, or a confidence/pelvis transplant. Even Sh’Bam isn’t going to help me there, but I will persevere!
Writing smouldering love scenes is good for my brain, I’m very engaged when I do that. 🙂
I could scare myself witless, like bungee jump in NZ, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge or meet an alien. But it wouldn’t do my bladder any good.
(Will write about neuroplasticity and pornography soon).
Any suggestions or thoughts?