CogniFit's Science blog: Mental Exercise – Keep Your Mind In Shape

Mental Exercise – Keep Your Mind In Shape

Mental exercise is generally recognized as an important way to help ward off or at least delay the onset or severity of brain deteriorating diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Let’s discuss this further.

Mental exercise typically involves performing a mentally stimulating act like reading or solving a brain fitness tasks. It challenges the brain to function optimally.

Scientific researchers have found that when mental exercises are performed, there are physical and chemical changes to the brain. When the brain becomes challenged through a mental exercise, it tends to form new neural networks. For this to occur, neurons connect with other neurons to form this network.

Studies have shown that the brain responds very much like a muscle. In other words if it is exercised, it can grow stronger and healthier.

If the brain receives regular stimulation through mental training it can actually grow larger. As we learn, the frontal cortex in our brains receives the most stimulation. This is the same area of the brain which is most effected by deterioration over age. It tends to weaken as we grow older. Since this area of the brain is most closely related to a person’s intelligence, cognition and personality it is essential to try to keep this part of the brain as healthy as possible.

Applying mental exercises helps to keep this part of the mind sharp and active. And it can help avoid impairment and forestall personality changes which can sometimes occur through too much deterioration and change. As indicated earlier this area of the brain plays a significant role in how we think, act, and respond to external stimuli. So keep it healthy by challenging it through mental exercises.

There are a few number of scientifically validated mental exercises which have proven benefit. They tend to be in the form of tasks so they can be both entertaining and beneficial. However it is important to remember that we should always challenge ourselves to be exposed to new things and use our brains as much as possible.

So stay active and get involved in social situations whenever possible. Keep up with reading and challenge yourself with brain training regularly. If you do, you’ll find that it will help your mind remain as sharp as possible and help to avoid or at least delay the onset of many mental impairments traditionally suffered by older people.