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Family Files

Challenge the Noggin!

What do you do the stay intellectually engaged?  Do you complete the daily crossword puzzle?  Do you watch trivia game shows on television?  Do you help your grandchild with her "times" tables?  Whatever it is, it is important to keep doing it!

Current research indicates that challenging the brain is one of several things you can do to contribute to your own brain health as you age.  So, if you've been saying things like, "I'd like to learn to play the piano," or "I'd like to learn a new language," what's stopping you?

One hint in choosing intellectually challenging activities is that they should be of interest to you.  If you have no desire to read Tolstoy, you probably won't stay with it.  And, you should really think broadly when it comes to activities that are "intellectually challenging."  For example, learning new types of dance steps can be very mentally challenging and also a great form of aerobic exercise, which is another brain health contributor!  However, if you are typically a wallflower and proud of it, you would probably not choose or enjoy dance lessons as a way to mentally challenge yourself.

Another hint - if you've become very good at a chosen activity, take it up a notch to make it more challenging.  For instance, if you are a wonderful knitter and can make a blanket in no time at all, try learning a new stitch or pattern, or making something more difficult, like a sweater. 

If you've thought about joining a book club other other group, but you keep putting it off because you don't want to go alone, call a friend and go together.  It is sometimes easier to try new things when you have a "partner in crime," and social interaction is also a brain health contributor!

Next week is Brain Awareness Week (March 16-22), so now is a perfect time to try something new to challenge your noggin and contribute to your own brain health.