Here's a simple trick to help keep your brain sharp.
We recently published an article called Six Ways to Boost Your Midlife Brain but it didn't include this clever idea from neuroscientist and author of Biohack Your Brain Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D. It's gloriously simple and involves nothing more than using your non-dominant hand to write a new word every day.
“Every single day I learn a new word,” says Willeumier in a MindBodyGreen podcast. “And then what I do is I practice writing it with my non-dominant hand.” It’s a fun and simple exercise to train your mind and take you out of your comfort zone - which she believes is key to staying sharp.
Willeumier suggests starting with writing and then progressively begin using your non-dominant hand for other things, such as drinking and brushing your teeth. Although these changes may not seem like much, they encourage your brain to create new, stronger connections between its hemispheres rather than staying complacent.
“New learning is about stepping outside of your comfort zone. We like to call it stretching your neurons,” she notes.
And to top it all, learning a new skill can also help prevent cognitive decline later in life. This notion is supported by James Goodwin, a professor of physiology at Loughborough University and former chief scientist at Age UK, who says there’s a widespread belief sudoku and brain games keep the brain young, but there’s little evidence they actually do. “What there is evidence for is that things like learning a language, playing a new card game or learning to juggle helps. Anything that involves concentration of effort over a period of time.”
6 Ways to Boost Your Midlife Brain: Forgetfulness isn't inevitable, says Professor James Goodwin, author of Supercharge Your Brain. “Science now shows us that not only are we able to protect our brains from the ageing process, but we can continue to grow new brain cells throughout our entire life,” he says. More...