I don’t want to ever retire. What can I do to remain sharp?

Here is ques­tion 15 of 25 from Brain Fit­ness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Ques­tions.

Ques­tion:
I don’t want to ever retire. What can I do to remain sharp?

Key Points:

  • Pro­vide your brain with reg­u­lar men­tal stim­u­la­tion that is nov­el and challenging.
  • Main­tain your social net­work for both stim­u­la­tion and stress reduction.

“Research has shown that con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, the brain is con­stant­ly under­go­ing neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, the devel­op­ment of new neu­rons and dendrites,” said Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg, Clin­i­cal Pro­fes­sor of Neu­rol­o­gy at New York Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine. “Learning and tar­get­ed men­tal exer­cise pro­motes neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis – the cre­ation of new neu­rons – just as mus­cle growth is pro­mot­ed through phys­i­cal exercise.”

Answer:


Work out, eat well, stim­u­late your brain, and reduce chron­ic stress.

Any good brain fit­ness pro­gram must pro­vide you a vari­ety of new chal­lenges over time. Recre­ation­al activ­i­ties like bridge, class­es, and cross­word puz­zles can work your brain and be fun, but a com­pre­hen­sive sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly-based pro­gram will eas­i­ly pro­vide you the tools you need to take care of your brain for the rest of your life. A com­put­er-based pro­gram can work all of your men­tal mus­cles sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly and reg­u­lar­ly. It pro­vides nov­el­ty, chal­lenge, and stretch­ing prac­tice for your mind.

Fred Gage, PhD at the Salk Insti­tute shows us that using your brain is the best way to opti­mize your brain function:

“In the nat­ur­al course of aging there is cog­ni­tive decline. We know we lose the abil­i­ty to gen­er­ate new neu­rons with age. We are cur­rent­ly try­ing to fig­ure out how gen­er­ate as many neu­rons as pos­si­ble to poten­tial­ly enhance learn­ing or increase the amount of neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis in adults.”

Stress reduc­tion is anoth­er major con­cern. Main­tain­ing your exer­cise rou­tine and social net­works will help a lot in this regard. Make social appoint­ments to go for a walk with a friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber. Get a dog. Write let­ters to friends you haven’t talked to in ages. Vol­un­teer in your com­mu­ni­ty. Take ball­room danc­ing lessons. All these activ­i­ties will help keep you men­tal­ly engaged, phys­i­cal­ly fit, and social­ly active.

Fur­ther Reading:

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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