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How Brain Fitness Helps Your Parents

Exercising the brain is an important aspect to healthy functioning and independence

Looking for a way to help your parents keep their minds sharp? According to research, it may be as easy as simply exercising the brain. The brain is often overlooked as something that needs to be exercised in order to stay in top shape but, just like our other body parts, it's very important to our health and well-being. Encouraging your parents to do brain exercises is a great way to help keep them healthy and more independent.

Neurogenesis explained

Engaging in brain training doesn't involve the head lifting weights, but it does involve taking part in both physical and mental exercises. The combination of both types of exercise is beneficial to the brain because of a process referred to as neurogenesis. This process, according to Wellesley College, is the birth of new neuronal cells. In research, scientists have found that new cells continue to be created and develop throughout our adult lives. This is important because it means that, as your parents age, neurogenesis can influence both learning and their memory.

Brain training 101

In order to help your parents to continue the process of neurogensis, or development of new cells in their brain, it's important that they engage in brain exercises. The National Institute on Aging reports that doing things like crossword puzzles and playing cards can help them to maintain their brainpower as they age. What they report is that, as the old saying goes, if you don't use it, you lose it. So in order to keep a healthy mind, it is important to encourage your parents to flex their mind muscle by engaging their brain in activity each and every day. Luckily, there are many ways they can do this; it's just a matter of helping them to find something they enjoy, and encouraging them to do it regularly.

Here are some brain exercises for your parents to try, according to The Franklin Institute:

  • Reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, etc.
  • Playing cards, bingo or board games.
  • Engaging in activity that requires thought, such as Tai Chi, yoga or dancing.
  • Employing hand-brain coordination, such as using a computer mouse or playing video games.
  • Working the hands to build something, even with clay or putty.
  • Stimulating the brain by traveling.
  • Breaking up an accustomed daily routine to try doing different things.