If crosswords don't do it for you, try these five other ways to build up your brainpower. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get daily healthy living tips delivered straight to your inbox!)
1. Dust off your board games.
Classic board games like Monopoly and Scrabble can help pump up your brainpower, Nussbaum says. (Reagle is a big fan of Boggle.)
"When you travel to a different place, it's going to be a new and complex environment for you," Nussbaum says. And almost nothing challenges your brain like navigating a new and exotic locale, according to research linking travel to stronger cognitive health. If you can't hop a flight to a far-off land, be a tourist in your own city by strolling through an unfamiliar neighborhood or visiting an art gallery opening. In general, novel experiences are going to engage your brain in healthy ways.
Whether it's crafting or gardening, new hobbies challenge our brains in ways similar to foreign travel or learning a new language. All these tasks appear to help keep your brain young and may protect it from diseases like dementia, research shows.
"Take out a blank piece of paper and write down three or four things you're really good at," Nussbaum says. "Then write down three or four things you're not very good at." Then work on practicing the things that are more challenging for you - think of those areas as being in serious need of some tree branch development, he says.
Exercise is a well-established Alzheimer's fighter. By improving blood and oxygen flow to your brain, physical activity can fortify the parts of your noodle that Alzheimer's attacks, research shows.
Your brain has a simple request, Nussbaum says: "It wants to be mentally stimulated and nourished, (and) to socialize with others." Research shows that spending time with friends may keep you sharp and protect you from brain diseases. You may not realize it, but experts say that almost nothing engages and challenges your brain like social interaction.
For more great health tips, pick up a copy of Prevention magazine, visit www.prevention.com, or follow us @PreventionMag.
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