7 Brain Exercises You Can Do To Prevent Dementia

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are diseases nobody wants to get. And it’s very difficult to watch a loved one forget who they are and who you are all because of an incurable disease. Although it’s impossible to tell if you’ll develop dementia later in life, there are certainly some ways you can train your brain to work harder and stay sharper. Try these seven brain exercises to keep your memory and logical thinking skills as up to speed as possible.

Old man smiling

There are many easy ways to exercise your brain. | Vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

1. Learn a musical instrument

Learning a musical instrument is the ultimate brain exercise. It forces your brain to take on something it is completely unfamiliar with. Research has shown that playing an instrument helps keep the mind sharper and improves long-term memory. Also, a study out of the University of Montreal showed that those who play instruments have faster reaction times, which is important — as you get older, your reaction time typically slows. Playing an instrument can help prevent that cognitive slip.

2. Practice a second language

Research has shown that learning a new language at any age can stimulate the brain and prolong brain function. The study showed that people who learned a second language, regardless of when they learned it, had better concentration than those who only knew one language. Try signing up for an online language course and spending some time each day learning the ropes of a new language.

3. Take a cooking class

Cooking is another new skill that forces the brain to work hard. Reading measurements, following slicing directions, multitasking with ingredients, and more are all great ways to give your brain a workout. If you don’t want to spend money on a cooking class, purchase a cookbook and try cooking a new recipe a few nights a week. Learn about measurements and food safety, too, for extra ways to exercise your brain.

4. Learn a new board game or card game

Playing a board game with the family has two benefits: It promotes family bonding and it exercises the brain. Sit friends or family down for a fun night that will help sharpen your mind while having fun. Certain games, such as Chess, have been proven to lead to higher math scores on standardized tests. Other games, like Monopoly, help sharpen cognitive thinking and improve decision making skills. All of these effects help prevent dementia.

5. Do Sudoku

A Sudoku puzzle has similar effects to playing a board game. You exercise your brain by fitting the numbers in the boxes in a very specific order, which can sharpen your thinking skills and prolong your brain’s health. It’s easy to find Sudoku puzzles online or in your local newspaper. Try to do one every morning while you sip your coffee.

6. Read a book

Reading is one of those activities you might not have realized can benefit your brain. But actually, it helps keep your brain working in a way television can’t. Instead of sitting in front of the television for two hours every night, try spending one hour watching your favorite show, then the next hour reading. Not only will it help your brain function, but it can also help you get a better night’s sleep.

7. Read problem solving mysteries

A great way to exercise your brain is to problem solve. And solving quick, puzzling mysteries is an easy way to do this. Books like “Five-Minute Mysteries” are quick, easy mysteries you can read once per day that perplex the mind and force you to think deeply in order to solve them. It’s a great way to get your brain working — and also very entertaining.

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